Southeast Asia has undergone tremendous change since the onset of the 21st century. Recovering from colonialism, war, military rule, and political upheaval that plagued them in the 20th century, the region’s 13 nations have enjoyed two decades of prosperity and economic growth—but not without a cost. With a global economy comes concern for the future of the environment and the fate of traditional culture. This talk will take as its starting point the Thailand Biennale, for which 60 international artists were commissioned to create work that was installed in the seaside resort town of Krabi, and discuss several artists from Southeast Asia whose works call attention to the changing landscape of the region as a result of rapid development. These artists work with nature, traditional materials, and contemporary technology to reflect on Southeast Asia as a site of cultural production.
Nora A. Taylor is the Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art and chair of the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art (University of Hawaii Press, 2004; University of Singapore Press, 2009); co-editor with Boreth Ly of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art: An Anthology (Cornell University Press, 2012); and author of a number articles on modern and contemporary Vietnamese and Southeast Asian art.
For more information on all Encounters with Asia events, please visit the series page.