Exhibition Showcases Writings and Visual Works by Southeast Asian Women

“Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora” wraps up with readings, receptions and colloquium Oct. 6-7 on second anniversary of UCR Culver Center of the Arts

acrylic and silkscreen on watercolor paper

“Kranok 1” by Nalyne Lunati

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The legacies of displacement and the hauntings of empire are explored in an art exhibit, “Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora,” which continues through Oct. 7 at the UC Riverside Sweeney Art Gallery in downtown Riverside, and in a soon-to-be-published anthology. The closing weekend features a reception, readings and a colloquium, and coincides with the second anniversary of the UCR Culver Center of the Arts, which houses Sweeney Art Gallery.

“Troubling Borders” showcases writings, paintings, drawings, photographs, videos and sculptures by women artists of Cambodian, Laotian, Filipino and Vietnamese descent, as well as artists who identify as Mien, Hmong and Cham. Artists whose work is featured are Anida Yoeu Ali, Reanne Estrada, Lin+Lam, Ann Phong, Nalyne Lunati, Hong-An Truong and Julie Thi Underhill.

acrylic painting

“Box of Water #2” by Ann Phong

The multimedia art exhibition and Oct. 7 colloquium also preview the contents and celebrate the upcoming publication of the first anthology by and about Southeast Asian women in the diaspora. “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 and is forthcoming from the University of Washington Press.

“By putting together an array of genres in terms of literature — poetry, spoken word, short story, and the personal essay — and art — installation, oil painting, photography, film, and video — we showcase the ways in which these women artists speak in multiple ways,” said Lan Duong, associate professor of  media and cultural studies at UC Riverside and co-curator of the exhibition with Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, associate professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University. “Diaspora, here, signifies the forced and voluntary movements that have marked the lives of Southeast Asians, but also indicates the linguistic, historic and cultural diversity of these women and their communities.”

The closing reception for the exhibition and readings by writers Leakhena Leng, Karen Llagas and Julie Thi Underhill begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. Artists featured in the exhibition will be present. Admission is free.

On Sunday, Oct. 7, artists, scholars and writers from the anthology will discuss issues of community, craft and reception from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Moderators are Duong, Pelaud and Mariam B. Lam, associate professor of comparative literature and languages at UCR. Admission is free.

Pelaud said the exhibit celebrates the coming to fruition of a vision that started 20 years ago.

“The impetus behind it is the desire to challenge misrepresentations of these women and to bring their creative voices and experiences toward the mainstream of American society,” she said. “I hope this exhibit, as well as the anthology that will follow it, will make it clear that Southeast Asian women of the diaspora have strong and important stories, an aesthetic and imagination of their own and ought to be included in Asian American Studies curricula and in those of other disciplines to a much greater degree than they are now.”

art, ink on erasers

“General Tri-Corn” by Reanne Estrada

The diversity of the women writers and artists in “Troubling Borders” “points to the ruptures caused by colonization, war, globalization, and militarization,” said Tyler Stallings, director of Sweeney Art Gallery and artistic director 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.”

“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, and co-sponsored by UCR’s Department of Media and Cultural Studies.

Sweeney Art Gallery is part of UCR ARTSblock, which also includes the California Museum of Photography and Culver Center of the Arts. ARTSblock is located at 3824 and 3834 Main St., Riverside. Hours are 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, http://sweeney.ucr.edu, http://culvercenter.ucr.edu, http://cmp.ucr.edu.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Lan Duong
Tel: (951) 827-5681
E-mail: lan.duong@ucr.edu

Tyler Stallings
Tel: (951) 827-1463
E-mail: tyler.stallings@ucr.edu

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud
Tel: (415) 338-7592
E-mail: ipelaud@sfsu.edu

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