After Darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the Wake of History

  • through January 21, 2018
  • Asia Society, New York
At a time of social and political tension, how should art and artists respond to the challenges of the moment? Does art have the power to change the world or does the world shape the evolution of art? This exhibit considers these questions through the work of seven contemporary artists and one artist group from Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam whose lives and artistic practices have intersected with defining periods of socio-political transition in their respective societies. The title of the exhibition originates in the phrase "after darkness comes the light" from the writings of Raden Adjeng Kartini, the daughter of the Regent of Jepara in Java and an icon and champion of women's emancipation in Indonesia. The words of Kartini echo the desire of artists to find light after days of darkness, and their struggle to give a voice to the disenfranchised and those on the margins of society.
Courtesy of the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art
"The Voices are Controlled by the Powers," by Indonesian artist FX Harsono, 1994. Wooden masks and cloth.
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