Intersections of the Literary & Artistic Worlds in Myanmar & the Region in the 20th Century

Intersections of the Literary & Artistic Worlds in Myanmar & the Region in the 20th Century, 17/11/2017, Singapore

This proposed one-day symposium corresponds to the last leg of the NTU-funded project on AungSoeillustrations.org, a database of illustrations by Myanmar’s trailblazer of modern art, Bagyi Aung Soe (1923–1990).

The examination of Aung Soe’s dated illustrations, which are the only means to tracing his artistic evolution between 1948 and 1990, led to the awareness of the crucial role played by illustration in the development, dissemination and documentation of 20th-century art in Myanmar. With neither governmental support nor a developed art market, illustration in printed matter was the artist’s mobile showcase and the platform for artistic experimentations. Whether in Mandalay or Yangon, artists both mainstream and avantgarde illustrated: book covers, magazine covers, album covers, posters, illustrations and vignettes inside publications, etc.

The rise of Aung Soe in the years following the country’s political independence is inextricably linked to the support of Myanmar’s foremost literary figures: Dagon Taya (1919–2013) who initiated him to Western modernism; Min Thu Wun (1909–2004) and Zawgyi (1908–1990) who nominated him for the Indian government scholarship to study art at Visva-Bharati University founded by Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) in Santiniketan,  India, thereby mandating him with the revival of traditional Burmese art. Indeed, as in many countries in the region, Burmese writers and poets were ahead of the artists in addressing the urgency and challenges of a localised artistic modernity. Today, artists, writers, poets, publishers and filmmakers continue to work closely together in Myanmar; the divide between the literary and artistic worlds is fallacious. Specialisation is not necessarily a condition of artistic excellence in this part of the world, for an artist writes as well as publishes, and a poet paints as well as edits: the worlds of artistic creation, literature and filmmaking are symbiotic.

This symposium seeks to:

  • investigate the hitherto overlooked medium and agency of illustration in the articulation of “art” in Myanmar and the region;
  • discern geneses of “art” in Myanmar and the region from the perspective of the literary world;
  • explore ways of thinking and writing about “art” beyond that yoked to the Euramerican experience and agenda;
  • reflect on common threads and divergences in the way(s) in which modern art emerged in tandem with developments in the literary world in Myanmar and the region.

Intersections of the Literary & Artistic Worlds in Myanmar & the Region in the 20th century welcomes papers engaging with any of these four above-listed tropes. Areas of interest include but are not restricted to:

  • Illustration as a site for articulating artistic modernities in Myanmar and the region
  • Illustration as a means of making sense of constructs and paradigms of “art” in Myanmar and the region
  • Illustration as image, body and medium in “art” in Myanmar and the region
  • Writings on art and their role(s) in shaping artistic practice, production and reception in Myanmar and the region
  • Literature and the writer in art; art and the artist in literature in Myanmar and the region
  • Narratives of collaboration, dialogue, debate or/and contention between writers, artists, poets, filmmakers, editors, publishers, critics, etc. in Myanmar and the region
  • Ecosystems of writers, artists, poets, filmmakers, editors, publishers, critics, etc. in Myanmar and the region

Voir : http://ntuprojects.com/portfolio/aung-soe/symposium/

New book traces bokator’s historic roots

« New book traces bokator’s historic roots »  by HS Manjunath, 03/07/2017, The Phnom Penh Post

As Cambodia awaits Unesco’s verdict on Angkor-era bokator getting its due as a World Heritage tangible asset of humanity, a new book on the martial art was released three days ago to enhance its historic, cultural and social impact on the Kingdom’s way of life.

Penned by 70-year-old grandmaster San Kim Sean, who after the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s revived bokator to its present status as a national treasure, the book offers spectacular insight into how and why this particular fighting style has been such an integral part of Cambodian life for well over 1,000 years.

According to the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), the book serves the dual purpose of documenting bokator’s history over the centuries and makes a strong case as to why it should be promoted among the next generations and preserved as a tangible asset of humanity.

“It has taken me more than 10 years to complete this work. Artefacts in the Angkor Wat temple complex depict hundreds of techniques of which I have chosen a bunch of traditional ones to highlight while tracing the roots of bokator as deeply as possible,” Kim Sean told The Post from Siem Reap, where he heads the Kingdom’s first bokator academy.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.phnompenhpost.com/sport/new-book-traces-bokators-historic-roots

 

‘Land of Freedom’: Heri Dono’s First Solo Exhibition in Hong Kong

« Joko Tarub Bathe in the Lake, Attacked by Terrorists, Protected by 7 Bidadari » (2016) by Heri Dono. Image courtesy of the artist and Tang Contemporary Art

« Land of Freedom » : Heri Dono’s First Solo Exhibition in Hong Kong by Valencia Tong, 07/07/2017, the Artling

As one of Indonesia’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Heri Dono is known for his satirical political commentary in his paintings and installations. Earlier on, The Artling interviewed the Yogyakarta-based artist back in 2015 during his residency at STPI in Singapore, before his solo installation at the Indonesian Pavillion for the Venice Biennale. Fast-forward to 2017, Heri Dono is showing his works at Tang Contemporary Art in his first solo gallery exhibition in Hong Kong.

The artworks on view seem humorous at first glance, yet they deal with serious sociopolitical issues, such as those in the Brexit and Trump era. To illustrate the complexities of the global political scene, strange-looking mythological creatures are juxtaposed against political caricatures. In Super Trump – Land, US president Donald Trump is depicted as a superhero-like figure with three eyes.

The artist, born in 1960 in Jakarta, Indonesia, is inspired by wayang kulit, a form of traditional shadow puppet play in Indonesia. Symbols of animals, mythological beasts, machines, spaceships and parodies of world leaders are commonly found in his work.

Lire la suite sur : https://theartling.com/en/artzine/2017/07/07/land-of-freedom-heri-donos-first-solo-exhibition-in-hong-kong/

Aural archipelago : field recordings from around Indonesia

Aural archipelago : field recordings from around Indonesia

Aural Archipelago is the lovechild of Palmer Keen, an American DIY ethnomusicologist wandering the vast archipelago of Indonesia to find, document, expose and promote little-known traditional musics around the country. Within a few years, Palmer has travelled from vast islands like Sumatra, Java, and Borneo to small dots in the ocean like Rote and Selayar in search of the diverse and beautiful music that fascinates him. With this project, his hope is to allow unprecedented audiences (local and foreign) free access to music that is often difficult or impossible to hear otherwise.

Palmer can be contacted at auralarchipelago@gmail.com

Enregistrements à écouter sur : http://www.auralarchipelago.com/

 

The tamarind is always sour

Keane Shum, « The tamarind is always sour » in Granta 138 : Journeys, Essays and Memoir

My job is to follow the movements of refugees across Southeast Asia so that we know where and how they might seek asylum, and what kind of needs they will have when they do. For the last few years, by far the largest group of refugees moving across Southeast Asia have been the Rohingya, an ethnic minority from Myanmar. The Rohingya are Muslims who have lived for generations in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine, but are considered by virtually all other Myanmarese – most of whom are Buddhists – to be interlopers from neighbouring Bangladesh.

By law, the more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar are almost all excluded from Myanmar citizenship, making them the largest stateless group in the world. They are cut off from livelihoods, medical care and schools. Systematic discrimination, punctuated by occasional eruptions of violent conflict, has pushed hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to seek refuge across a vast expanse stretching from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to Bangladesh and Malaysia. There are anywhere between two to three million Rohingya in the world, and the large majority of them do not exist on paper.

When I first started talking to Rohingya refugees in 2014, most of them were fleeing Myanmar by boat because they are generally prohibited by local authorities from crossing by road into even the next town. Every month, thousands of Rohingya were committing $2,000 a head to a multinational network of Myanmarese, Bangladeshi, Thai and Malaysian people smugglers whom they entrusted to bring them across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea to Malaysia. My team and I interviewed hundreds of Rohingya who made this journey, and their testimonies were remarkably consistent and consistently terrifying. The only more inhumane crossing I have ever heard or read about is the Middle Passage, the part of the slave journey across the Atlantic that killed millions of Africans between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Lire la suite sur : https://granta.com/tamarind-always-sour/

Banda : Heritage for Indonesia

« Banda : Heritage for Indonesia : a seminar and an exhibition about Banda, nutmeg and the treaty of Breda 1667-2017 », 31/07/2017 – 31/08/2017, Erasmus Huis, Jakarta

2017 marks the 350th anniversary of the Treaty of Breda. This Treaty, named after the Dutch city where it was signed on 31 July 1667, ended the Second Anglo-Dutch war (1665–1667) during which England and the Netherlands had fought over maritime hegemony and world trade. Through signing the Treaty of Breda, the Dutch accepted English rule over what is now New York (New Amsterdam), while the British accepted Dutch rule over Suriname and Run, the remotest of the Banda islands. However, the Banda islands had been an international trade centre long before the Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit Banda. It was after their arrival to the islands that various European powers attempted to monopolize the worldwide trade in nutmeg. These disputes turned the Banda islands into a lively, yet often violent stage for world politics. After the Dutch, led by J.P. Coen, unleashed a lethal expedition against the Bandanese in 1621, a Dutch monopoly on the spice was secured even though the British maintained their claim on Run until 1667.

This exhibition traces this fascinating history behind the Treaty of Breda. Through the presentation of historical maps, images and objects, Banda’s multi-faceted history will be highlighted. The visitor gets acquainted with nutmeg and its characteristics, Banda as a centre of international trade and world politics.

Voir : https://www.facebook.com/bartelegallery/photos/a.157149674310864.41895.111961525496346/2010751102284036/?type=3&theater

Book-hunting in the City of Heroes

« Book-hunting in the City of Heroes » by Tom Hoogervorst, 20/07/2017, KITLV blog

Situated in an inconspicuous residential area in the south of Surabaya, one could easily overlook one of Indonesia’s most intriguing libraries and its equally fascinating owner. Tom Hoogervorst looks back on a fruitful week of research spent at Medayu Agung.

“Some of the books are a bit sticky”, says Mr. Oei Hiem Hwie, as he deftly separates the pages of a 1919 book on traditional medicine. “I had to hide my collection above the ceiling of my old house. They burnt many of my possessions. In the end, everything was buried under a 15 cm coat of dust.”

Known to his friends as Pak Wie, the Malang-born septuagenarian and life-long book collector heads a unique library open to Indonesian and international visitors: Medayu Agung. Every day, students, journalists, intellectuals, and cultural activists can be spotted browsing through its books and newspapers. The library contains material in Indonesian, Chinese, Javanese, Dutch, English and German – among others – ranging from colonial to recent times. In addition to this wealth of printed sources, innumerable beautiful black-and-white photos of old Surabaya and other historical paraphernalia make it a living museum. Even an original edition of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler himself has found its way into the library.

The history of Medayu Agung is closely connected with the history of Indonesia. In 1965, at the peak of his journalistic career, Pak Wie was imprisoned without a trial on the unfounded suspicion of involvement with Indonesia’s communist party. As a result, he was detained for 13 years in some of the country’s most notorious prisons, including the gulag-style internment camps of Nusakembangan and Buru. While incarcerated, he developed a close friendship with fellow convict Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who later became Indonesia’s most famous writer. His ground-breaking “This Earth of Mankind” (Bumi Manusia) was first written down on pieces of paper smuggled in by Pak Wie. They are still kept in the library.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.kitlv.nl/book-hunting-city-heroes/

Deep South ‘Patani arts’ opens in the North

« Deep South ‘Patani arts’ opens in the North » by Kong Rithdee, 20/07/2017, Bangkok Post

A major contemporary art exhibition about the Deep South is on display at a museum in Chiang Mai, one of the biggest gatherings of artists from the region, with the addition of others whose works touch on the stories of conflicts and violence in the southernmost provinces.

« Patani Semasa » opened last night at MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai. It features 27 artists who work in painting, photography, installation pieces and video art.

The majority are from « Patani », the generic and historic name of the provinces of the Deep South. Many are women, and while the exhibition generally showcases the development of contemporary art in the region, the dominant theme at this show is the loss, reflection and hope that come with the protracted unrest plaguing the region for decades, particularly since 2004.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/art/1290594/deep-south-patani-arts-opens-in-the-north

 

Indonesian Textiles at The Tropen Museum

Book Launch : Indonesian Textiles at The Tropen Museum, 13/10/2017, Tropenmuseum Studio

The Tropenmuseum Amsterdam cares for an internationally renowned collection of textiles from Indonesia. Numbering approximately 12,000 objects the majority of these textiles were acquired during the period that Indonesia was a Dutch colony, the former Netherlands East Indies. These textiles originate from all over the archipelago, from Aceh on Sumatra, to Tanimbar in the east. A small part of the collection was even made in the Netherlands for artistic or commercial reasons.

Indonesian Textiles at the Tropenmuseum explores this collection within a broader framework of Dutch colonial and scientific history. It examines the stories of those who made and used them, those who collected and brought them to the Netherlands, as well as those who have studied and exhibited them.

About the author
Itie van Hout is former Curator of Textiles of the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, and is now retired. She is the author of Batik Drawn in Wax: 200 Years of Batik Art from Indonesia in the Tropenmuseum Collection (2001) and Beloved Burden: Baby Carriers in Different Countries (2011).

Co-author is Sonja Wijs, anthropologist and researcher. She also is the co-author of Africa at the Tropenmuseum (2011).

Voir : http://materialculture.nl/en/events/indonesian-textiles-at-the-tropenmuseum

The Karen in 2017: Resilience, Aspirations and Politics

The Karen in 2017: Resilience, Aspirations and Politics, 18/07/2017, Tea Circle Oxford

On Thursday, 15th June researchers and practitioners working with Karen communities within the context of the Myanmar’s ongoing democratic transition joined together for a special one-day workshop, ‘The Karen in 2017: Resilience, Aspirations and Politics’, convened by the Programme on Modern Burmese Studies (MBS) at St Antony’s College.

In a unique collaboration between research fellows and students from the University of Oxford and the Australian National University’s Myanmar Research Centre, the event brought together students, academics and commentators with development practitioners and activists working in a range of fields and interventions in Karen State, Karen refugee and diaspora communities.

As Dr Matthew Walton, MBS Director, made clear in his opening address, the workshop set out to take stock of the promise and pace of substantive change and progress for these communities since the signing of a ceasefire between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Myanmar government in January 2012, and the long-awaited accession of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy government in March 2016.

Participants were specifically asked to reflect on the adaptive strategies, politics and aspirations of ordinary Karen people and ethnic leaders navigating Myanmar’s often uneven and uncertain transition to peace and democracy over recent years. The workshop was structured around four main themes and panels: (1) Aspirations, Education and Health; (2) Livelihoods and Social Protection; (3) Migration, Conflict and the Borderland; a plenary session considered (4) the Future of Karen in Myanmar/Burma and the Diaspora.

Voir : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/07/18/the-karen-in-2017-resilience-aspirations-and-politics-part-1/

 

 

Tantrism and State Formation in Southeast Asia

Lecture: Tantrism and State Formation in Southeast Asia by Andrea Acri, 14/08/2017, Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre

About the Lecture

The socio-religious phenomenon we now call “Tantrism” dominated the religious and ritual life in much of South and Southeast Asia from around 500 CE to 1500 CE and beyond. Yet, the impact of Śaiva and Buddhist Tantric traditions on the societies and cultures of Southeast Asia remains insufficiently studied and appreciated. The talk will explore the indissoluble link between the State and Tantric ideologies/ritual systems in Southeast Asia. It will first deal with state formation, evaluating the theories of “man of prowess” and “Śaiva bhakti” elaborated by historian Oliver Wolters, then turn to the role of Tantric magic and ritual in the medieval maṇḍala polities of Sumatra, Java, and Cambodia. Finally, it will offer some concluding reflections on the link between politics, power, and the “supernatural” in modern Southeast Asia.

About the Speaker

Andrea Acri was trained at Leiden University (PhD 2011, MA 2006) and at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ (Laurea degree, 2005). He is Maître de conférences in Tantric Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, France. Prior to joining EPHE in late 2016 he has held research and teaching positions at Nalanda University (India), the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute, the Asia Research Institute (NUS), and other institutions in the Netherlands, Australia, and the UK. His main research and teaching interests are Śaiva and Buddhist Tantric traditions, Hinduism and Indian Philosophy, Yoga traditions, Sanskrit and Old Javanese philology, and the comparative religious and intellectual history of South and Southeast Asia from the premodern to the contemporary period. His publications include the monograph Dharma Pātañjala: A Śaiva Scripture from Ancient Java Studied in the Light of Related Old Javanese and Sanskrit Texts (Egbert Forsten/Brill 2011; 2nd edition Aditya Prakashan 2017), the edited volumes Spirits and Ships: Cultural Transfers in Early Monsoon Asia (ISEAS Publishing 2017, with A. Landmann and R. Blench), Esoteric Buddhism in Mediaeval Maritime Asia (ISEAS Publishing 2016), From Laṅkā Eastwards: The Rāmāyaṇa in the Literature and Visual Arts of Indonesia (2011, KITLV Press, with H. Creese and A. Griffiths).

Voir : https://www.iseas.edu.sg/events/upcoming-events/item/5838-lecture-tantrism-and-state-formation-in-southeast-asia

“Never take the unchanging province for granted”

ASEAN Film Festival winner Kirsten Tan: “Never take the unchanging province for granted”, 26/07/2017, The Isaan Record

A weary man approaches the camera, his purple umbrella barely reaching the eyes of the elephant beside him. There is no rain for the umbrella, but it shields him from the harsh sun as he travels from the country’s urban center to a rural border province in Isaan. The journey is demanding, not just physically but emotionally in a trip down memory lane.

Pop Aye, the debut feature by Kirsten Tan, a Singaporean filmmaker based in New York, follows a Bangkok architect’s journey to his hometown in Loei Province. The protagonist, Thana, explores his past amidst a midlife crisis alongside his childhood companion, the film’s titular elephant.

Tan was raised in Singapore and lived in South Korea and Thailand before moving to New York. She completed a Master’s in Film Production at New York University. Her work has been showcased in over 40 international film festivals, including Sundance Film Festival 2017, where Pop Aye won the Special Jury Prize in Screenwriting.

In May, Pop Aye went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at ASEAN Film Festival 2017 in Bangkok, where the film premiered in Thailand.

The Isaan Record talks to Tan about Pop Aye’s portrayal of the urban-rural divide in Thailand and the nostalgia Thana and Pop Aye’s travels evoke.

Lire la suite sur : http://isaanrecord.com/2017/07/26/asean-film-festival-kirsten-tan/

Call for Panels and Papers : SEA Studies Symposium 2018

Project Southeast Asia invites proposals for Panels and Papers for the 7th Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium at Indonesian Medical Education and Research Institute (IMERI), Universitas Indonesia, from 22-24 March 2018.

All proposals, including Academic Paper Panels, Roundtables, Workshops, and Individual Papers, must be submitted by the 15 October 2017 deadline.

Themes of the symposium

The theme of the 2018 Southeast Asian Studies Symposium is “What is Southeast Asia? Exploring Uniqueness and Diversity”. While panels and workshops on this theme will be particularly welcomed, the Symposium will also accept panels and papers on any topic relating to Southeast Asia.

Aims of the symposium

The Symposiumt Asia has three aims:

  • To present solutions for contemporary Southeast Asian issues by bringing together the brightest minds from all fields and disciplines, and from around the world. Its core goal is to promote the integration of the humanities and social sciences with science, medicine, and business in order to create solutions which are effective, viable, and appropriate to culture and geography.
  • To build networks and relationships between current and future decision-makers in Europe and Southeast Asia, as well as connections among academia, government, civil society/NGOs, and business. Integral to the Symposium will be opportunities for Southeast Asian and European politicians, corporate leaders, academics, and NGOs to interact and build relationships.
  • To promote the research of the most talented scholars of Southeast Asia and offer a platform for young academics to present their work.

Plus d’informations sur : http://projectsoutheastasia.com/academic-events/sea-symposium-2018/cfpp

Writing regional and national histories of Southeast Asia

« Writing regional and national histories of Southeast Asia : potentialities and problems » by Barbara Watson Andaya and Leonard Y. Andaya, 16/08/2017, University of Sydney

One of the themes in Southeast Asian Studies concerns trends in historiography and the issues these raise for specialists. Whether we are concerned with regional or more specific national, communal or thematic histories, four questions continue to dominate this discussion:

  • How should boundaries of a study be defined and where should they be set?
  • What should be the basis for determining periodization in a non-Western area?
  • What types of sources are available, both literate and non-literate, and how should they be interpreted?
  • To what extent do the themes that may emerge from the sources distinguish a region or a national culture?

With the expanding field of world history, these questions are particularly relevant for those historians who would like to see Southeast Asia better integrated into global studies.

In this joint seminar, Leonard and Barbara Andaya will discuss the ways in which they have responded to these questions in the writing of A history of ‘early modern’ Southeast Asia (Cambridge, 2015) and in their third revised edition of A history of Malaysia (PalgraveMacmillan, 2016).

Voir : http://sydney.edu.au/sydney-southeast-asia-centre/events/Writing-regional-and-national-histories-of-Southeast-Asia.html

Reviving Panji tales in arts and culture

A ‘wayang beber’ performance around 1902 in the house of Wahidin Soedirohoesoedo in Yogyakarta. (Leiden University Library/Kassian Cephas)

« Reviving Panji tales in arts and culture » by Wardiman Djojonegoro, 19/07/2017, The Jakarta Post

Massively popular for centuries in Java, Bali, Sumatra, and even in other Southeast Asian countries, Panji tales have become the sources of inspiration of other forms of local culture.

Indonesian people have enjoyed Panji tales for generations. Children cherish childhood stories that include the legends of Keong Emas and Ande Ande Lumut, both derived from Panji tales. Yet with the influx of information and foreign culture, Panji tales and other indigenous forms of culture are being pushed further aside and find it hard to compete with modern publishing and communication technologies.

The influence of Panji tales can be found in dances, theatrical performances, traditional wayang (wayang beber, wayang kelir, wayang krucil) shows and a variety of Panji masks. Panji tales are found engraved on temple reliefs with Panji featured as a character with a distinctive cap on his head …

Lire la suite sur :