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.

By on June 8, 2012

First published:

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.