Mount Faculty Featured in ArtAsiaPacific Magazine
Riverdale, N.Y. – College of Mount Saint Vincent Assistant Professor of Sociology LinDa Saphan is one of three Cambodian diaspora artists, along with Anida Yoeu Ali and Amy Lee Sanford, whose works have been brought together in INTERALCE: Three Artists in the Cambodian Diaspora. The exhibit encompasses a variety of mediums, spanning from video, collage and mixed-media installation and highlights universal concerns emerging from the artists’ awareness of their Cambodian origins as well as their local awareness and global perspectives, as a result of their migratory experience. The exhibit, curated by independent art curator, writer, and lecturer Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani, who focuses on contemporary South East Asian art, ran June 10 through 30 at the inCube Arts space.
The exhibit has been widely acclaimed by the press, with features in publications including ArtAsiaPacific magazine, the leading English language periodical covering contemporary art and culture in Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East; The Voice of America Khmer (VOA Khmer), which broadcasts comprehensive news and multimedia programs about Cambodia, Southeast Asia, and the world; and The Cambodia Daily, an independent newspaper published in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
“ArtAsiaPacific is the reference when it comes to modern art and Asia Pacific,” said Dr. Saphan. “To be reviewed by them is quite an acknowledgement by other peers and art critics.”
During the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1985, approximately one million people fled Cambodia and more than 100,000 Cambodians resettled in the United States, while others went to Canada, Australia, and Europe. INTERALCE: Three Artists in the Cambodian Diaspora features works of art created by Dr. Saphan and fellow artists Ms. Ali and Ms. Sanford, three female artists of the generation who grew up as refugees in foreign countries and dealt with the dilemmas of otherness and displacement. The works are imbued with their artists’ migratory past as a significant time of transition that influenced their artistic journeys. While the artists shared similar struggles in different parts of the world, they came together in the exhibit through the common thread of their Cambodian origins and memories of their past.
Throughout her research and art practice, Dr. Saphan has been inspired by her interest in her homeland, posing personal and collective questions about identity. Her new body of work Back Home compiles paper collages and mixed-media sculptures that trace images of her life from the time she left her native Cambodia to take refuge in Montreal, Canada, to her move to New York where she currently resides. Her two mixed-media sculptures Flamboyant and Stateless are the size and the shape of a small child, reminiscent of her age when she left Cambodia. Flamboyant is covered with orange flowers, the color of the Flamboyant Tree, dear to the artist. Stateless is covered with copies of her Canadian immigration form, the only document that states her birth date and the names of her parents, reading “stateless” under citizenship.
Ms. Sanford, a Cambodian-American visual artist whose work explores the evolution of emotional stagnation, and the lasting psychological effects of war, including guilt, loss, alienation, and displacement, created the installation Full Circle, Unbounded Arc, which features Cambodian clay pots. The artist had broken and reassembled the pots in a previous performance, as a symbol of putting together the shards of her Cambodian identity. On the exhibit’s opening night, Ms. Sanford performed Single Break Pot: West 52nd Street, during which she sat on the gallery floor to break and reassembled a Cambodian clay pot.
Ms. Ali, whose artistic work has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Illinois Arts Council, and who grew up as a refugee in a traditional Muslim household, featured three video works from her Red Chador series, which began in 2015 as a performance on the streets of Paris in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. In the footage, Ms. Ali is dressed in a sparkling red chador and tackles the growing Islamophobia in America, on the streets of Hartford, Connecticut—where she lived and worked as a visiting professor at Trinity College. The exhibition also featured the ongoing performance and video works The Buddhist Bug, part of the artist’s repertoire.
About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.