Art all day, everywhere!
What makes Asian art Asian? And what makes public art public? HFNM presents visual artworks by eight artists including newly commissioned works. What are the effects of using archetypal imagery and recognizably Asian symbols in artwork in order to easily achieve relatability or approachability? Can Asian artists reclaim these symbols and recover from “white gaze” art made within the diaspora? Through performances, workshops, soft sculpture, and site-specific installations, we invite artists to explore their heritage, memory, identity, and culture from a diversity of perspectives—introducing artwork that is both meaningful and accessible for a diversity of viewers. Curated by Divya Gadangi.
by Lexy Ho-Tai
A common phrase in her grandmother’s broken English, “You hung-uh-ry?” translates the artist’s childhood memories into site-specific soft sculpture, communicating love and nourishment beyond language.
Lexy Ho-Tai is a Canadian-Chinese artist whose mission is to learn and teach through artmaking that is vibrant, playful, and optimistic. This piece marks the first in which she addresses her Chinese heritage. Ho-Tai asks “When do I feel the most Asian?” The answer: when her grandmother—a Chinese immigrant who moved to rural Canada and ran a Chinese takeout restaurant—cooks for her. Ho-Tai examines her relationship with her grandmother’s food (both Americanized and home-cooked) using symbols and text researched from oral histories, creating a welcoming space that invites viewers to touch and contemplate their own relationships to food, language, and heritage. @lexymakesthings
Museum & City
by Abeera Kamran
A single-channel video installation examining Pakistani cities and their museums through moving image, text, and audio.
During her Instagram story takeover of @SouthAsian.Art, Birmingham (UK) and Karachi-based artist / designer / developer / researcher Abeera Kamran visited three Pakistani museums (the Sindh Museum, the National Museum of Pakistan, and the Lahore Museum) and examined their details from a critical and poetic perspective rarely seen on social media. Kamran explores city and institution; streetwear and architecture; gender and hierarchy; transforming the mundane medium of Instagram into an opportunity for dialogue and education. Kamran recontextualizes this material for HFNM 2019 as a video installation (no Instagram required) organized by theme. The result is a fascinating and vivid South Asian cultural tour that is raw, DIY, and surprisingly punk. @abeerakamran
by KT Pe Benito and Minh Bui
An interactive cardboard and wood rendition of a home kitchen; a space to gather and share stories and food.
Despite their different backgrounds and heritages, Pe Benito and Bui unanimously agree that the kitchen island is an essential space for storytelling and conversation. “Kitchen Islands” is a site-specific homage to this all-important household feature in comforting and homey cardboard and wood, where viewers are encouraged to commune, learn, gossip, and share. With fake appliances, sculptures alluding to childhood snacks, as well as to-do’s, artist prompts, and impromptu group activities, Pe Benito and Bui create a sacred space for their much-loved kitchen island chatter. @playpinay
She Takes She Shares (Fish Market)
by Nic Annette Miller
A reenactment of a traditional Vietnamese fish market in which the artist sells painted wooden fish indigenous to Vietnam to passers-by on the street.
Nic Annette Miller is an installation artist and yoga instructor who creates experiences through visual art and movement. Her practice is part research, part memoir, and part craft. Through traditional woodblock printing and sculpture, Miller contemplates her relationship to her Vietnamese heritage, her mother, and her relationship to nature. These wooden replicas of fish and seafood—commonly found at Vietnamese fish markets, and essential to Vietnamese cuisine—allow Miller to explore her family’s collective memories, provoking challenging questions such as “What does my family remember eating before leaving Vietnam?” and “How does my vegetarianism affect my identity?” Miller looks forward to engaging with the public through spontaneous and inspired dialogue at her simulated fish market. @nicamiller
Our Stories of Migration
by Natalia Nakazawa
Multidisciplinary artist Natalia Nakazawa asks: “What does it mean to be a global citizen?”
Nakazawa invites viewers to plot their past, present, and future migrations by embroidering a growing tapestry of the world map throughout the day, generating a colorful and interconnected web of migratory pathways. The map itself features patterns illustrative of important historical cultural exchange, and can stand alone as a reflection on borders, places, and the exchange of culture through textile. Over time, the map evolves into place for intergenerational discussion and collaboration: “Where did Grandma go first?” “What part of Iran did Mom move to?” “Where do I want to be?” And “What does ‘global citizen’ mean to me?” At the end of the day, the map will serve as a vibrant record of HFNM 2019’s visitors and their many storied migrations. @nakazawastudio
Each Mango is a Love Letter
by Somnath Bhatt
As the co-founder of @SouthAsia.Art, Somnath Bhatt is immersed in South Asia’s relationship to art. His work spans digital and physical forms—from multimedia and technology to multilingual typography and traditional crafts—Bhatt uses symbols and iconography to create work that is accessible yet complex, never dumbed-down or oversimplified. Today, Bhatt is based in Gujarat, where it is currently mango season. “Each Mango is a Love Letter” is a split-screen video installation that contemplates the clichéd mango (a romantic motif in South Asian culture) and its relationship to ritual, sensitivity, and desire. @m0henjodaro