Conferences, Symposiums & Talks

Asian Art Histories symposium: History, Truth, Memory: Trauma in Asian Contemporary Art

FX Harsono's Gazing on Collective Memory, 2016

Date & Time

Date: Tue 21 Sep 2021
Time: 5:00pm




Please register in advance for this symposium here.

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Seminar, Symposium

This symposium explores memory, trauma and the politics of the past in Asian contemporary art. It investigates the legacies of violence in the region, probing its continued, if repressed, imprint on Asia’s sociopolitical landscape. If history is written by the victors, who speaks for history’s victims? Art historians Dr Wulan Dirgantoro and Dr Nayun Jang team up with acclaimed Indonesian artist FX Harsono to share their intimations, considering the politics of remembering from diverse vantage points. The session will be moderated by Dr Zehra Jumabhoy.

Image credit: FX Harsono, Gazing on collective memory, 2016.

About the speakers:

FX Harsono (b. 1948) is a seminal figure in the Indonesian contemporary art scene. An active critic of Indonesian politics, society and culture, Harsono’s own biography and family history are often the basis of his art, pointing out the precarious position of minorities within the history of Indonesia’s political development. This intersection of the personal and the political is particularly evident in his most recent works. Harsono was awarded the 2014 Prince Clause Award from the Prince Clause Fund, Netherlands and the Anugrah Adhikarya Rupa 2014 Award, from the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia. He also won the 2015 Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art from the Embassy of the United States of America. His solo exhibitions include Beyond Identity, Nexus Arts Gallery, Adelaide, Australia (2015), Writing in The Rain at Tyler Rollins, New York, USA (2012) and Testimonies at the Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2010).

Dr Nayun Jang, research associate professor at the Critical Global Studies Institute (CGSI), Sogang University, Seoul, is an art historian specialising in contemporary lens-based art in East Asia. Her research centres on the examination of how artists resist the selective formation of official memories and create counter-hegemonic ones. At the same time, she is concerned with investigating the pertinence of lens-based images in the construction and representation of collective memory. Prior to joining CGSI, Nayun worked as an associate lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art from 2018–2020. In 2019, she co-founded an online curatorial and research platform called greenroom, funded by the Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture. On greenroom, she curates performance art and regularly produces critiques on contemporary documentary and performance practices.

Dr Wulan Dirgantoro is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses are gender, feminism, and trauma and memory in Indonesian modern and contemporary art. She is the author of Feminisms and Indonesian Contemporary Art: Defining Experiences (2017). Together with Michelle Antoinette, Wulan co-curated the exhibition Shaping Geographies: Art I Women I Southeast Asia (2019) that highlighted recent art practices by contemporary Southeast Asian women artists. Wulan was also part of 'Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art', a research programme funded through the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative.

About the moderator:

Dr Zehra Jumabhoy is a writer, curator and art historian specialising in modern & contemporary South Asian art. She is interested in analysing the sociopolitical contexts of Asian art history. She is a Curatorial Research Fellow at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, a position funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, to facilitate programming related to the major exhibition, Imperial Subjects: (Post)Colonial Conversations between South Asia & Britain, scheduled for 2022. She also teaches in the MA in Asian Art Histories Programme at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore.