ARCHIVING WOMANIFESTO: An International Art Exchange, 1990s – Present
Friday 18 October 2019, 9am – 6pm
New Law School Foyer, University of Sydney
Keynote speaker: Prof Flaudette May Datuin, University of the Philippines
Saturday 19 October 2019 at 1pm
The Cross Art Projects
Roundtable chair: Prof Flaudette May Datuin, University of the Philippines
Saturday 19 October at 3pm
The Cross Art Projects
Exhibition Guest Speaker
Rachel Kent, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art
Exhibition runs 19 October to 16 November 2019
Curators: Varsha Nair, Nitaya Ueareeworakul, Phaptawan Suwannakudt
In 1995 an informal gathering of women artists, writers and activists in Bangkok put together a feminist art exhibition, Tradisexion. Calling themselves Womanifesto, this collective went on to organize biennale events that aimed to increase women’s visibility. It was the first feminist collective of its kind in the region, seeking to strengthen links between women artists regionally and internationally. Among its many projects include art residencies held in rural Thailand and online curations in cyberspace. Archiving Womanifesto presents this history, with issues raised to be discussed in an open symposium.
The Power Institute, together with the School of Literature, Arts and Media and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney, presents the symposium ‘Art, Digitality and Canon-making?’ as part of the Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories project. This symposium continues conversations first initiated in Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok in April this year entitled 'Art, Design and Canon-making?'. By harnessing the potential of digital tools and methodologies in academic research and digital humanities, the symposium aspires to form a bridge between tools and ideas in the hope of providing a platform for the presentation of new research on gender broadly, and for the rethinking of frameworks, approaches and methodologies in the writing of feminist and area art histories.
Attempts to scrutinise and challenge canon-making processes from feminist perspectives are often characterised as “re-telling a compensatory history”, in the words of Flaudette May Datuin (University of the Phillipines). Considering each of the various activities involved in feminist art historical work among others, papers presented at this symposium will move from thinking with the questions of researching and writing, to questions of making and using archives, as well as approaching and interpreting information, art, and their absences. This symposium offers the opportunity to explore the potential of digital approaches in discourses of gender in Southeast Asian art histories as well as to come to terms with the critical and scholarly issues that may arise.
The exhibition Archiving Womanifesto will then shift attention to art and artists, and their own agential role in constructing and resisting the canon, including their use of digital tools.
Join us for both the symposium and exhibition opening, for two days of exciting presentations, conversations and artworks.
Header image: Photo of participants at the Womanifesto Workshop, 2001
Womanifesto 2001 Workshop group
2008 Womanifesto Residency Workshop | Mahasarakam Uni students
Nitaya Ueareeworakul, sketch for sculpture | Womanifesto Workshop 2001
Nitaya Ueareeworakul and Pho Yai with their collaborative sculpture on Boon Bandarn Farm. Womanifesto Workshop 2001
Sriwan Jenhuttakarnkit, Light Sculptures at Womanifesto II, 1999
Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Nariphon 3a, 1996, acrylic on silk, 90 x 90 cm. Courtesy Kenneth and Bevery Carruthers Photo John Clark
Pan Parahom, Embroidered Stories, embroidery on hand dyed and woven cloth panels, Womanifesto Residency 2008
Dr Yvonne Low, University of Sydney
Dr Catriona Moore, University of Sydney
Dr Roger Nelson, National Gallery Singapore
Dr Clare Veal, LASALLE School of the Arts
Dr Siobhan Campbell, University of Sydney
Prof Flaudette May Datuin, University of the Philippines
Dr Wulan Dirgantoro, University of Melbourne
Greg Doyle, University of Sydney
Dr Jaya Jacobo, University of the Philippines
Varsha Nair, Womanifesto
Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Womanifesto
Nitaya Ueareeworakul, Womanifesto
Wong Bing Hao, Independent scholar
Michelle Wong, Asia Art Archive
About the artists / exhibition curators
Varsha Nair was born in Kampala, Uganda, and studied at Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda, India. Inviting multidisciplinary collaborations her work encompasses various approaches and genres. Co organizer of Womanifesto – an international art exchange in Thailand, she has also exhibited internationally including at Chulalongkorn University Art Centre (Bangkok), Khoj International Artists Association (New Delhi), Tate Modern (London), Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt (Berlin), Art in General (New York), Lodypop (Basel). She has published her writings in various art journals such as n paradoxa, Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, Art AsiaPacific, SPAFA Journal and Ctrl+P Journal of Contemporary Art of which she is Editorial Board member. Nair is currently invited by Hochschule Luzern, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, as guest lecturer for their Masters Dialogue programme and to mentor Masters students. She had lived in Bangkok since 1995 and has recently moved to reside in her hometown of Baroda in India.
Nitaya Ueareeworakul was born in 1966 in Udonthani, Thailand, and studied Fine Arts at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Her paintings and mix media installations from personal experiences and focus on women’s emotional issues and social responsibility. From 1996-2000 Nitaya had been invited to International workshop, Artist’s Exchange, Exhibition & residency program in Australia, France, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Austria, India, Vietnam & Kenya. She founded and managed Studio Xang, a gallery and children’s art workshop space in Bangkok from 1994 – 2000. Co- founder and co-organizer of Womanifesto since 1995, Nitaya is a single mother with two children and now lives in Ubonratchathani, Thailand.
Phaptawan Suwannakudt was born in Thailand, 1959 and trained as a mural painter with her late father Paiboon Suwannakudt and led a team of painters that worked in Buddhist temples throughout Thailand during the 1980s-1990s. She relocated to Australia in 1996 and completed MVA degree at Sydney College of the Arts. She has exhibited extensively in Australia, Thailand and internationally. Her recent installation work, Knowledge in your Hands Eyes and Mind, in Beyond Bliss the Inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale, (2018-9), is reconstructed as part of Asia TOPA January March 2020 Arts Centre Melbourne. Selected exhibitions include Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver (2017), Retold-Untold Stories, Chiang Mai (2014) and Sydney (2016), Thresholds: Contemporary Thai Art, New York (2013) and the18th Biennale of Sydney: All Our Relations (2012). Open Letter, a touring exhibition across South East Asian countries, (2005-2006), El Poder de Narrar, Espai d’art Contemporani de Castelló, Valenciana, (2000), Women imaging women: home, body, memory, Cultural Centre of the Philippines, Manila 1998. Phaptawan is a recipient of the NAVA artist grant (2010 and 2013), a grant from Office of Contemporary Art, Ministry Culture of Thailand (2012), Asialink arts residency program (2014) and the Australia Council grant (2001 and 2011, 2018). Her works are in public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Art Gallery of Thailand, Art Bank Sydney, and Rama 9 Art Collection, Bangkok.
Phaptawan Suwannakudt at www.phaptawansuwannakudt.com
Womanifesto website http://www.womanifesto.com
This symposium is supported by the Power Institute together with the School of Literature, Arts and Media and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. The organisers gratefully acknowledge the partnership of The Cross Art Projects for the Womanifesto archive exhibition, and the support of Asia Art Archive and John Cruthers and Professor Elaine Baker.