Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora

UC Riverside Sweeney Art Gallery exhibition showcases writings and visual works by women of Cambodian, Laotian, Filipino and Vietnamese descent.

General Tri-Corn, ink on erasers

Reanne Estrada, “General Tri-Corn (6),” 2005, ink on erasers

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside’s Sweeney Art Gallery presents “Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora,” which showcases writings and visual works by women of Cambodian, Laotian, Filipino and Vietnamese descent who create art that bear witness to the legacies of displacement and the hauntings of empire that linger to this day.

The exhibition, which opens June 30 and runs through Oct. 7, will feature paintings, drawings, photographs, videos and sculptures by seven international, contemporary artists: Anida Yoeu Ali, Reanne Estrada, Lin+Lam, Ann Phong, Nalyne Lunati, Hong-An Truong and Julie Thi Underhill. The writers who will be reading include Leakhena Leng, Karen Llagas, Jai Arun Ravine and Julie Thi Underhill.

A diverse group, these women writers and artists point to the ruptures caused by colonization, war, globalization, and militarization, said Tyler Stallings, director of Sweeney Art Gallery and artistic firector for Culver Center of the Arts. “Their stories and artwork are vital and varied, and together they provide a sharp contrast to normative narratives and ideologies that have been constructed in the West and the nation-states of Southeast Asia, particularly in the aftermath of the Cold War,” he said.

This multimedia art exhibition and Oct. 7 colloquium also previews the contents and celebrates the upcoming publication of the first anthology by and about Southeast Asian women in the diaspora. Four years in the making, “Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora: Troubling Borders in Literature and Art” is edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam B. Lam and Kathy Nguyen.

By making these works visible to a large public and pushing the boundaries of literature and art, the editors highlight the global connections that draw many disparate groups of women together. The art exhibit and colloquium form one part of these larger efforts to promote the works of Southeast Asian women.

“Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora” is organized by UCR Sweeney Art Gallery, sponsored by the Chancellor’s Strategic Investment Funds at UCR, co-sponsored by UCR’s Department of Media and Cultural Studies, and curated by Lan Duong, associate professor of media and cultural studies at UCR, and Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, associate professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University.


Closing reception and reading, Saturday, Oct. 6, 6-9 p.m., free admission

Readings by poets and writers from the anthology, “Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora: Troubling Borders in Literature and Art.” Artists featured in the exhibition will be present. The evening will also be the closing reception for “Michael Shroads: Drag & Logged Sculptures + Noise Drawings” that is featured in the UCR Culver Center of the Arts atrium.

Colloquium, Sunday, Oct. 7, 1-3 p.m., free admission

Artists, scholars and writers from the anthology will discuss issues of community, craft and reception. Moderated by Lan Duong, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud and Mariam B. Lam.


UCR Culver Center of the Arts

Matters of Decay: Paintings by Constance Mallinson
June 9-July 28, 2012
Closing Reception: Saturday, July 28, 6-9 p.m., free admission

Michael Shroads: Drag & Logged Sculptures + Noise Drawings
Aug. 11-Oct. 7
Closing Reception: Saturday, Oct. 6, 6-9 p.m. (concurrent with Troubling Borders closing reception)

UCR California Museum of Photography

Roots Against the Sky: Photographs by David Whitmire Hearst Jr
Through July 14, 2012

PASOS: Video Installations by Marsia Alexander-Clarke
Through Sept. 22, 2012

i.e. California: Historic Panoramas of the Inland Empire
July 14-Sept. 22
Opening reception: Saturday, July 28, 6-9 p.m., free admission

Matt Lipps: HORIZON/S
July 28-Oct. 27
Opening reception: Saturday, July 28, 6-9 p.m., free admission


UCR ARTSblock is located at 3824 and 3834 Main St., Riverside, and includes three venues: California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts and Sweeney Art Gallery, which are open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for First Thursday ArtWalks. Admission is $3, which includes entry to all three venues, and is free during First Thursday ArtWalks (6-9 p.m.). For film screenings, Culver Center opens 30 minutes prior to the start time. See websites for additional information,,,

Press inquiries, Tyler Stallings, 951-827-1463,

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Tyler Stallings
Tel: (951) 827-1463

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