SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia is initiated and edited by a collective of researchers based primarily within the region, with varying local (and national and transnational) expertises, and divergent theoretical and methodological allegiances. The collective comprises of:
Isabel Ching (Singapore/Germany)
Isabel Ching holds a Masters of Arts (Art History &Theory) from the University of Sydney, Australia. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate on scholarship from the Cluster of Excellence, Asia and Europe in a Global Context’s Graduate Program for Transcultural Studies at the University of Heidelberg (Germany). Her doctoral research project (Chair of Global Art History) investigates conceptualism in Myanmar, The Philippines, and Singapore from the 1960s to 1990s. She is the project coordinator for the Cluster’s interdisciplinary research network ‘Arts and the Transcultural’ and an organiser of the Cluster’s International Summer School 2015, ‘Walking the Line – Art of Border Zones in Times of Crisis‘. She has curated exhibitions of artists from China, Hong Kong, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, and was curator for the 9th BrandNew Art Project in 2014 hosted by the Bangkok University. Her writings have also appeared in journals like Third Text and DiAAAlogue.
Thanavi Chotpradit (Thailand)
Thanavi Chotpradit is a lecturer in modern and contemporary Thai art history in the Department of Art History, Faculty of Archaeology, at Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. She completed her PhD in art history from Birkbeck, University of London, under a Royal Thai Government Scholarship. She has contributed essays for both Thai and international scholarly journals such as Aan, Fah Diew Kan, Journal of Asia Pacific Pop Culture and South East Asia Research, art magazines as well as exhibition catalogues. In 2015-2016, she was awarded a place in a cross-regional research program, Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art. Her current research on photographs of the 6th October Massacre (1976) is funded by Thailand Research Fund (TRF) for 2019-2021. Thanavi’s areas of interest include modern and Thai contemporary art in relation to memory studies, war commemoration, Thai politics and archival practices.
Brigitta Isabella (Indonesia)
Brigitta Isabella is a writer and researcher mainly in the field of art history and criticism. She is interested in the South-South perspective of knowledge production, not only as subject of art historical research, but also as the ground of engagement with current translocal knowledge production. She is affiliated with KUNCI Cultural Studies Center, a research collective based in Yogyakarta which is part of Arts Collaboratory—an ecosystem of twenty-five like-minded organizations situated predominantly in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, all of whom are focused on collective governance. In 2014, Brigitta initiated From Bandung to Berlin, an artistic research platform that thinks through and speculates with the 1955 Bandung Conference and the 1989 Fall of Berlin Wall as a nodal point for inciting new passages of histories.
Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez (Philippines)
Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez is a faculty member of the Department of Art Studies of the University of the Philippines. Her current research focus encompasses attempts at variable forms of grassroots historiography, the reimagining and activation of contested space, and alternate modalities of exchange among artists navigating the institutional and extra-institutional. She works across platforms straddling various aspects of curation, publication, and art education. She is presently a steering committee member of Another Roadmap School, writes independently for various academic and art publications, and is pursuing a Doctorate in Social Development in line with a proposed survey of art initiatives undertaken in community contexts within the Philippines.
Yvonne Low (Australia)
Yvonne Low specialises in the modern and contemporary arts of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. She writes and researches widely on Asian art and visual culture. Her research interests include colonial histories, cultural politics of art development, women artists and feminist art history, and digital art history. Yvonne has published in books, peer-reviewed journals and major exhibition catalogues. She holds a PhD from the University of Sydney, and is currently a Lecturer in Asian Art at the University’s Power Institute where she co-convened the inaugural Gender in Southeast Asian art histories symposium in 2017. From 2016, she taught and coordinated a number of undergraduate units including Contemporary and Modern Asian Art, Modern Art in East Asia, and Gender and Sexuality in Asian Art. She has previously taught Asian art and architecture subjects casually at Nanyang Technological University, School of Art Design and Media (2010-11), University of New South Wales (2015) and National Art School, Sydney (2017). Her recent publication include the co-edited anthology, Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art (2018).
Vera Mey (New Zealand/UK)
Vera Mey is a PhD candidate in History of Art & Archaeology at SOAS, University of London supervised by Professor Ashley Thompson. Prior to this, she spent several years working as a contemporary art curator in institutions including ST PAUL St Gallery, AUT University, New Zealand and was founding curator of the Residencies Programme at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art (2014 – 2016) led by Professor Ute Meta Bauer. More recent independent work has included curating exhibitions in Auckland, Bangkok, Paris, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo. In 2017 she was co-curator of SUNSHOWER: Contemporary art from Southeast Asia 1980s to now at the Mori Art Museum and National Art Centre Tokyo which was the largest survey of Southeast Asian artists to be exhibited, working in a team led by Mami Kataoka. Research work includes being a scholar on Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, a research initiative of the Getty Foundation.
Roger Nelson (Singapore)
Roger Nelson is an art historian, and a curator at National Gallery Singapore. He was previously Postdoctoral Fellow at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne, researching modernity and contemporaneity in ‘Cambodian arts’ after independence. Roger has contributed essays to scholarly journals, specialist art magazines, books, and numerous exhibition catalogues. His translation of Suon Sorin’s 1961 Khmer novel, A New Sun Rises Over the Old Land, is forthcoming with NUS Press; he is also author of a general introduction to Southeast Asian modern art, for a non-specialist reader, forthcoming with National Gallery Singapore. In 2015-16 Roger was a participating scholar in ‘Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art,’ and in 2018-2020 in ‘Site and Space in Southeast Asia,’ both research programs funded by the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative. Roger’s research considers images, texts and urban spaces, often concentrated on trans-media intersections.
Simon Soon (Malaysia)
Simon Soon is a researcher and senior lecturer in Southeast Asian art history at the Visual Art Department of the Cultural Centre, University of Malaya. He completed his Ph.D. in Art History at the University of Sydney under an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship. His thesis ‘What is Left of Art?’ investigates the intersection between left-leaning political art movements and modern urban formations in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines from 1950s–1970s. His broader areas of interest include comparative modernities in art, spatial-visual practices, history of photography and art historiography. He has written on various topics related to 20th-century art across Asia and occasionally curates exhibitions, most recently Love Me in My Batik: Modern Batik Art from Malaysia and Beyond. Together with Malaysia Design Archive, he is working on a crowd-sourced Jawi to Romanised script transliteration project of writings on art in the Malay language from the 1950s – 1960s. He is also co-editor of Narratives of Malaysian Art Vol. 4. From 2015–16, he is a participant in the Power Institute’s ‘Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art’, funded by Getty Foundation’s ‘Connecting Art Histories’ initiative.
Clare Veal (Singapore)
Clare Veal is a lecturer in the MA Asian Art Histories program at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. She undertakes research on Southeast Asian photography, art and visual culture, with a particular focus on Thailand. She received her PhD from the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the University of Sydney for her thesis entitled, ‘Thainess Framed: Photography and Thai Identity, 1946-2010.’ Clare was the sub-editor for Asian Art for the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Modernism (2016) and has contributed papers to a number of publications, including Journal of Aesthetics and Culture and Trans-Asia Photography Review. From 2015-16, Clare was a participant in the Power Institute’s ‘Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of South East Asian Art’ research program, funded by the Getty Foundation. In 2017 she was co-convener of the symposium Gender and Southeast Asian Art History, held at the University of Sydney.