We Are Here: Contemporary Art and Asian Voices in Los Angeles
March 13 – June 14, 2020
About the Exhibition / We Are Here: Contemporary Art and Asian Voices in Los Angeles brings attention to the dynamic voices in our diverse metropolis that extend viewers’ knowledge and understanding of the Asia Pacific region. The exhibition highlights seven female contemporary artists of diverse Asian Pacific heritages living and working in Los Angeles. These artists engage with and draw from their lives and family histories to create compelling works of art that invite visitors to think about their own experiences and heritage. Interwoven in their works are personal and universal narratives that give voice to the plural community we call home. This show seeks to inspire visitors to discover connections across boundaries and see that Asian art is expansive and complicated.
Exhibited Artworks / We Are Here: Contemporary Art and Asian Voices in Los Angeles places the art and voices of the exhibited artists as the central themes leading the visitor through the galleries. Organization of the exhibition will be by artist, with their words accompanying their images. A variety of media will be represented in the exhibition, including painting, photography, and video. Artists’ videos will be projected onto walls in the gallery space. Throughout the galleries, small screens will present short mini documentaries about each artist and will be produced by the USC Pacific Asia Museum.
Exhibition Artists / Each of the exhibited artists is actively engaged with developing artworks that address complex themes in a variety of media:
- Reanne Estrada is an artist with a happily schizophrenic practice. She uses performance and object-making to examine the unstable nature of identity and the fragility of the body. Estrada often collaborates with other artists to create performance events that investigate cultural and gendered meaning in contemporary society.
- Phung Huynh draws from her heritage of survival and migration as a refugee from the Vietnam War. Her paintings investigate the shifting notions of cultural identity in an American setting. The work she is producing for We Are Here examines the experience of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees in Southern California.
- Ann Le uses her work as a way to explore her family’s history within the larger context of war. She excavates her lineage by revisiting her family’s experiences. Using archived family photos and stories, Le’s works are layers of images, building upon each other, often touching on emigration, history, family, and memory.
- Ahree Lee looks to the past and across distances to investigate what constitutes individual or collective identity in an increasingly diasporic, culturally alienated and fractured world. Her video and mixed media work reveals hidden narratives and patterns embedded in identity, gender expectations, community, family and culture.
- Kaoru Mansour grew up surrounded by nature and continues to look to the natural world in her paintings. She tinkers with materials and images to create compositions and surfaces that are both sensuous and irreverent, personal and universal.
- Mei Xian Qiu draws from her personal history to reconstruct the unknown, fantastical notions of culture, self-invented and revelatory and iconic. This type of flexible self-view and easy piercings of notions of the impermeable interior self, are in keeping with the new contemporary landscape of commonplace transience and a growing global monoculture.
- Sichong Xie utilizes performance, video, and installation to explore her identity and place in the world as an expatriate Chinese citizen. She investigates sculptural forms and movements within global communities to reconsider and re-envision shared spaces and performative practices.
Movements: Battles and Solidarity by Tran, T. Kim-Trang
July 1 – August 2, 2020
Movements: Battles and Solidarity is a large-scale three-channel video installation on handmade screens that will be presented at USC PAM in July 2020. The triptych looks at significant events in the years 1972-74 regarding fashion, race, and class, particularly the Civil Rights movement in high fashion, labor unrest in the garment industry during the long 70s, and the Vietnam War. The work explores shared political and physical “movements” made manifest in the catwalk, the run, and the march.
Artist / Tran, T. Kim-Trang was born in Vietnam and emigrated to the U.S. in 1975. She received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and has been producing experimental videos since the early 1990’s. Her work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group screenings in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, and the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. Her Blindness Series, eight experimental video shorts investigating blindness and its metaphors, was completed in 2006. Tran is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Creative Capital grant, a Getty Mid-Career Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowship, which has enabled her to develop a screenplay based on the life of her mother titled Call Me Sugar, which she hopes to direct as a feature film project.
In 2010 Tran exhibited a three-channel video installation titled Landless in Second Life, where she created an Afterlife for her mother as a way to explore notions of immigrants and immigration in the online, virtual world Second Life. In 2016 she produced a born-digital book of critical essays on The Blindness Series and completed a casual game titled Arizona 9 about a girl’s murder that led to the demise of the border-watch movement. In 2020 she will debut Movements: Battles and Solidarity, a large-scale video installation on the shared movements in fashion, the Vietnam War and women in the garment industry from 1972-74.
Tran is a Professor of Art and Media Studies at Scripps College.