“Southeast Asian art history doesn’t have a canon yet”: Isabel Ching – interview


I am not sure how realistic it is to expect Southeast Asia to have a canon when many scenes in Southeast Asia, for eg, Indonesia, do not even their their “national” canon yet, though such plans have been in the pipeline.

Also, I’m not sure if people in Southeast Asia ever think of themselves as a Southeast Asianist, I think identities are still very much drawn along national lines. Nothing wrong with that, afterall, Southeast Asia is not monolithic. That said, this is a good and interesting entry point, looking at important artists working in a certain genre and drawing comparisons, looking forward to the insights the study would show.

“Southeast Asian art history doesn’t have a canon yet” Isabel Ching

“On the other hand, there is the question of whether Singapore is exercising imperialism. Or questions like, why don’t we just focus on Singapore? Why do we claim the whole of Southeast Asia? So the questions have been going on and I don’t think I have an answer.“

Read the article here.

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