Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2018-08-10 00:06Z by Steven

Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism
Volume 22, Number 2 (56)
2018-07-01
pages 35-56
DOI: 10.1215/07990537-6985666

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Issue Cover

This essay focuses on artwork that centers family photographs and home movies as a point of departure to trouble the conventional family album in order to narrate a story about Caribbean Chinese kinship. In the art examined, personal visual archives are used to respond to the lacuna of Caribbean Chinese familial intimacies from the colonial archive. Engaging shared themes of migration and racialized ideas of reproduction, three contemporary diasporic visual artists—Albert Chong, Richard Fung, and Tomie Arai—mine oral histories and family archives to blend aural and visual narratives. These artists rupture the surface of family images to trouble the bourgeois, heteronormative, and colorist scripts that often police the formation of family. The family album is rearranged and marked up; thus it becomes rendered as flesh inscribed with silent narratives. Through different forms of remixing, they engage with the affect and entanglements of family photography to form a visual vocabulary of diasporic kinship. In doing so, the artwork—collages, documentaries, installations—interrogates the afterlife of the nineteenth-century European colonial experiment of Chinese indenture, designed to install a discreet “buffer race” between the white minority and the black majority in the Caribbean after abolition. The experiment, which depended on the capacity for the Chinese to develop bourgeois domesticity in the Caribbean after abolition, failed because of sexual intimacies between people of African descent and people of Asian descent, beyond the imperial order’s imagining. Another future of familial intimacies in the diaspora is present in the artists’ aesthetic of fragmentation and collage.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Albert Chong: “The Photomosaics: Works on Paper, Wood, and Stone”, on view through November 1, 2014

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-19 23:21Z by Steven

Albert Chong: “The Photomosaics: Works on Paper, Wood, and Stone”, on view through November 1, 2014

Counterpath
613 22nd Street
Denver, Colorado 80205
(303) 953-2692
2014-10-03 through 2014-11-01


“Angela” (2011) by Albert Chong

Opening Friday, October 3, 2014, at 7 p.m., and on view through November 1, 2014, Counterpath is excited to host an exhibit of recent work by Albert Chong, “The Photomosaics: Works on Paper, Wood, and Stone.” The work consists of image transfers onto gridded ceramic or stone tiles that combine to make up a larger image. Included are blatantly political portraits of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, made from portraits of thousands of dead soldiers, to a portrait of activist and former Black Panther Party member Angela Davis, her iconic afro consisting of thousands of portraits of African American women with processed hair. Photomosaics have the mass and presence of sculpture and the transmissive abilities of photography.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , ,

War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art [Wing Luke Museum Opening]

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2013-08-01 00:51Z by Steven

War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art

curated by:

Laura Kina, Associate Professor Art, Media and Design and Director Asian American Studies
DePaul University

Wei Ming Dariotis, Associate Professor Asian American Studies
San Francisco State University

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
2013-08-09 through 2014-01-19
719 S. King Street Seattle, WA 98104
206-623-5124

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 8, 2013 @ 6-8pm

Join us for the opening reception of War Baby/Love Child on Thursday, August 8. Curators Laura Kina and Wei Ming Dariotis will be in attendance, as will exhibiting artists Louie Gong, Richard Lou, Stuart Gaffney, Jenifer Wofford, and Lori Kay.

You are invited to the 6-7pm preview and reception program. Light refreshments will be served. Please send in an RSVP to Maria Martinez or call 206.623.5124, ext 107.

7-8pm Open to the public (no RSVP needed). Free admission.

This exhibition brings together works by 19 artists, highlighting different approaches to the identities and experiences of mixed Asian Americans, mixed Pacific Islander Americans and Asian transracial adoptees. While their biographies are varied and often diverge from the dominant stereotypes of mixed Asian identities, their lives are shaped by the specific histories of Asian Pacific-U.S. collisions: narratives of war, economic and political migration and colonization. As an ethnically ambiguous Asian American generation comes of age in a world fixated on post-racial politics and moving beyond issues of identity, War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art examines how artists engage various facets of hybridity in their artwork.

Artists: Mequitta Ahuja, Albert Chong, Serene Ford, Kip Fulbeck, Stuart Gaffney, Louie Gong, Jane Jin Kaisen, Lori Kay, Li-lan, Richard Lou, Samia Mirza, Chris Naka, Laurel Nakadate, Gina Osterloh, Adrienne Pao, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, Amanda Ross-Ho, Jenifer Wofford, Debra Yepa-Pappan.

Read more about the exhibition here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photographer Interview: Albert Chong

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2013-07-04 19:00Z by Steven

Photographer Interview: Albert Chong

Dodge & Burn: diversity in photography history
2011-02-08

Qiana Mestrich, Visual Artist + Writer

Dodge & Burn: Where are you from?

Albert Chong: I am originally from Kingston, Jamaica by way of Brooklyn, NY, San Diego, CA and presently Boulder, CO.

D&B: What kind of photography do you shoot and how did you get started – any “formal” training?

AC: My photography has been primarily focused on the use of the medium as a means of artistic and personal expression. My work has been a contributor to the discourses surrounding the contemporary visual arts of people of African and Asian descent. Inherent in these discourses are issues of race, identity, ethnicity, multiculturalism and postcolonial visual expression of methods of cultural retrieval.

My work has also investigated the role of family and ancestry in the constructed identity that is the artist. One of my better known body of work are the still life photographs that I construct sometimes using old family photographs, that in the context of the arrangement creates a shrine like tableaux that renders these Ancestors into Icons…

D&B: Have you experienced any setbacks or different treatment along your photography career that you would attribute to being a woman and/or photographer of color? (this question is optional)

AC: Yes, I have had my share of racist discrimination, and I am fully aware that there are subtle methods and layers of exclusion that are designed to strain and filter out people whose difference was being from some demographic other than white, mainstream America. There were many instances in which I did not fit the prevailing notion among whites of what an artist looks like and that was generally white and male.

There was one incident that sticks out for me even after almost 30 years. I dropped off a portfolio of my photographs at a then very prestigious photography gallery called Light Gallery when I returned to retrieve it a few days later the gallerist was super enthusiastic about the work and mentioned that they were interested in giving the artist a show, she then asked me if I was the messenger and if I was would I relay this message to the artist. I then revealed that I was the artist and with her mouth agape in shock and surprise, the offer instantly evaporated.

There were many others including Aperture magazine in a meeting in 1992 the white man I met with I won’t mention his name told me they could not publish a book of my work because I was black and I was not famous and that their audience was primarily white. Well the irony there was that he was to become complicit in my fame when a traveling exhibition of photography my work was in hit New York and he was asked by the New York Times to review it and my photograph was used to advertise the show. At around the same time I was in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and my photograph was being used in the New York Times as well to advertise that one.

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , ,

Capturing the Spirit World on Film: Albert Chong’s artistic recipe blends Jamaica, Catholicism, Santeria and America in an eclectic artistic stew

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2013-07-04 17:14Z by Steven

Capturing the Spirit World on Film: Albert Chong’s artistic recipe blends Jamaica, Catholicism, Santeria and America in an eclectic artistic stew

The Los Angeles Times
1993-10-10

Leah Ollman

When photographer and installation artist Albert Chong was about 6 years old, his parents bought a new house in Kingston, Jamaica.

Chong’s father invited a Catholic priest to bless the house by sprinkling holy water throughout. A few days later, his father brought in another priest, this time a black Obeahman, or shaman, who sacrificed two roosters and scattered their blood not far from where the holy water had just dried.

“My father thought he should cover all his bases,” Chong recalls, laughing. “We were Catholics, really. But when things would start getting really bad and you’d see forces that were being worked against you that the regular, established Catholic religion couldn’t help you with—you couldn’t go to your local priest and say, hey, somebody has worked some wicked magic on me. Yet it’s a real thing.”

Like his father, Chong has a lot of bases to cover. His life gives new meaning to the overused term multicultural. Half-Chinese, half-Jamaican Chong was raised Catholic but has followed Rastafarianism, the Ethiopian-inspired political/religious movement, and Santeria, the syncretic religion forged by African slaves living under Christian domination in the Caribbean. He is married to Frances Charteris, an artist from England, and their two children, Ayinde and Chinwe, are, he says with pride and just a touch of resignation, very American…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Naked Bodies, Bodies of History

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2013-07-01 02:12Z by Steven

Naked Bodies, Bodies of History

Hyphen Magazine: Asian America Unabridged
2013-06-27

Jenny Lee

“She mimics the speaking. That might resemble speech. (Anything at all.) Bared noise, groan, bits torn from words…From the back of her neck she releases her shoulders free.  She swallows once more.”

So begins the story of the halting diseuse, or female storyteller, of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s genre-defying text Dictée, first published just over three decades ago in 1982. Organized in nine parts named after the Greek Muses, Dictée has been described in mythic terms – a Korean Odyssey, a rewriting of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, a theatrical ritual, a shamanistic exorcism.  Above all, however, Cha’s work interrogates history, refracting the history of Korea in the twentieth century through the themes of exile, the displacement of colonized bodies, and the lost – and resurrected – bodies and voices of women…

…I must have had Dictée on the brain, because I thought of Cha’s work again a few weeks ago when I dropped by the DePaul Art Museum to see the exhibit War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art, curated by DePaul and San Francisco State University professors  Laura Kina and Wei Ming Dariotis. The exhibit is part of a larger project that features visual media produced by nineteen artists who hail from the rapidly expanding community of 2.6 million Americans (and counting) who identify as Asian American plus one or more ethno-racial groups. While the exhibit blurb explains that the show “examines the construction of mixed heritage Asian American identity in the United States,” this actually doesn’t do justice to its ambitious range, which not only investigates the historical origins of these identities (U.S. wars in Asia, colonialism, transnational adoption, the 1967 Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia outlawing laws against interracial marriage) but breaks down insidious present-day theories about “post-racialness,” while also featuring work by a younger generation of artists who seem to stay out of the conversation completely.  

In an interview, Dariotis revealed that the title of the exhibit was inspired by her own experience fielding annoying questions about her background (which, incidentally, is Chinese, Greek, Swedish, English, Scottish, German, and Dutch). According to Dariotis, people would inquire whether her parents “met in the war.” “And I always ask myself, ha, I was born in 1969, we were not at war with China in 1969. Where did they get this image?” Dariotis’s story highlights persistent mainstream assumptions about mixed-race (if not mixed-ethnic) Asian Americans of a certain age as either/or – that is, either the product of military personnel and Asian women, or free-love hippies indulging in illegal interracial sex. If Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show offers a critique of the sexualizing of women’s bodies, War Baby/Love Child draws attention to the cultural sexualization of specifically Asian (and mostly female) bodies through the bodies of their mixed-race offspring…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Opening 4/25: “War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art”

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2013-04-17 03:36Z by Steven

Opening 4/25: “War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art”

DePaul Art Museum
Chicago, Illinois
2013-04-16

CHICAGO — The DePaul Art Museum explores the construction of mixed-heritage Asian American identity in the United States with “War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art,” which opens April 25.

“It gives visibility to the increasingly mixed generation coming of age by highlighting artworks that map personal biography and the construction of mixed heritage Asian American identity against U.S. and transnational histories,” said Laura Kina, exhibit curator. Kina is a Vincent de Paul Professor and founding member of Global Asian Studies at DePaul University, where she also is an associate professor of art, media and design in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. April 25 at the museum, located at 935 W. Fullerton Ave., just east of the CTA’s Fullerton ‘L’ stop. The museum is free and open to the public every day. The exhibition runs through June 30.

“Through traditional media as well as video, installation and other approaches, artists explore a range of topics, including U.S. wars in Asia, multiculturalism and identity politics, racialization, gender and sexual identity, citizenship and nationality, and transracial adoption,” said Kina. She co-edited a book of the same title with Wei Ming Dariotis, an associate professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Mequitta Ahuja, Albert Chong, Serene Ford, Kip Fulbeck, Stuart Gaffney, Louie Gong, Jane Jin Kaisen, Lori Kay, Li-Lan, Richard Lou, Samia Mirza, Chris Naka, Laurel Nakadate, Gina Osterloh, Adrienne Pao, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, Amanda Ross-Ho, Jenifer Wofford and Debra Yepa-Pappan…

Read the entire press release here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art [Exhibition]

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2013-04-09 14:24Z by Steven

War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art [Exhibition]

DePaul Art Museum
935 West Fullerton
Chicago, Illinois 60614
2013-04-25 through 2013-06-30

As an increasingly ethnically ambiguous Asian American generation is coming of age, War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art looks at the construction of mixed-heritage Asian American identity in the United States. Working in traditional media as well as video, installation, and other approaches, artists explore a range of topics, including US wars in Asia, multiculturalism and identity politics, racialization, gender and sexual identity, citizenship and nationality, and trans-racial adoption.

The exhibition features works across diverse mediums by emerging, mid-career and established artists who reflect a breadth of mixed heritage ethno-racial and geographic diversity: Mequitta Ahuja, Albert Chong, Serene Ford, Kip Fulbeck, Stuart Gaffney, Louie Gong, Jane Jin Kaisen, Lori Kay, Li-lan, Richard Lou, Samia Mirza, Chris Naka, Laurel Nakadate, Gina Osterloh, Adrienne Pao, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, Amanda Ross-Ho, Jenifer Wofford, and Debra Yepa-Pappan.

Major funding for this exhibition was awarded through The National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Museums grant to DePaul University.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art

Posted in Anthologies, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, United States on 2013-01-28 01:12Z by Steven

War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art

University of Washington Press
January 2013
304 pages
63 illustrations, 44 in color, maps
7 x 10 in.
ISBN: 978-0-295-99225-9

Edited by

Laura Kina, Associate Professor Art, Media and Design and Director Asian American Studies
DePaul University

Wei Ming Dariotis, Associate Professor Asian American Studies
San Francisco State University


Cover art by Mequitta Ahuja

War Baby/Love Child examines hybrid Asian American identity through a collection of essays, artworks, and interviews at the intersection of critical mixed race studies and contemporary art. The book pairs artwork and interviews with nineteen emerging, mid-career, and established mixed race/mixed heritage Asian American artists, including Li-lan and Kip Fulbeck, with scholarly essays exploring such topics as Vietnamese Amerasians, Korean transracial adoptions, and multiethnic Hawai’i. As an increasingly ethnically ambiguous Asian American generation is coming of age in an era of “optional identity,” this collection brings together first-person perspectives and a wider scholarly context to shed light on changing Asian American cultures.

Visit the website here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,