Please join us to launch our latest publication

Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, 1945–1990

Edited by
Stephen H. Whiteman
Sarena Abdullah
Yvonne Low
Phoebe Scott


These are gritty, painstaking, revealing studies of topics that are infrequently represented in research into art and its histories. When regarded collectively in this volume, the new in fields of Southeast Asian art is not only promised but inaugurated significantly.
—T K Sabapathy, National University of Singapore



Monday 2nd July
Level 5
Abercrombie Business School
University of Sydney

The book will be launched by Adrian Vickers, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and co-author of The Pearl Frontier, winner of the University of Southern Queensland History Book Award at the 2016 Queensland Literary Awards.

Register to attend

Register to attend and preorder your copy to pick up (25% off the RRP)

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How does one define the art of a region without losing sight of cultural specificity? This question has often plagued art historical studies of the “global,” but this exceptional collaborative research effort, conceived through archival research, extensive fieldwork and new theoretical perspectives, succeeds where others have failed: in presenting transnational perspectives on post-war artistic practices and the processes of de-colonisation in Southeast Asia without losing sight of national singularities.
—Nora A. Taylor, Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This new volume, co-published by Power Publications and National Gallery Singapore, explores the art and architecture of Southeast Asia in the postwar period. Ten essays by emerging scholars draw upon unexplored archives and works of art, bearing witness to rich local histories and uncovering complex artistic exchanges across Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and beyond.

The collection sheds new light on the significance of architecture, painting, installation, photography, and sculpture in the historical narratives of this period and offers fresh insights into artistic production and reception within the cultural and political contexts of postcolonialism and the Cold War, the legacies of which continue to shape the region today.

• Histories of art, architecture, monuments and exhibitions based on new fieldwork and archival research
• Research from Thailand, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines
• More than 100 colour images

This book will appeal to readers interested in intersections of art history and the histories of modernism, postcolonialism, and the Cold War; the disciplines of architecture, photography, installation; and the histories and cultures of Southeast Asia.





Aligning New Histories of Southeast Asian Art
by Phoebe Scott, Yvonne Low, Sarena Abdullah, and Stephen H Whiteman

Part 1: Art for the Nation

‘The Work the Nation Depends On’: Landscapes and Women in the Paintings of Nhek Dim
by Roger Nelson

Strategic Modernism: The Architecture of HSH Prince Vodhyakara Varavarn and Modern Thailand in Transition, 1950s–1960s
by Chomchon Fusinpaiboon

Part 2: Circulation and Internationalism

The Politics of Friendship: Modern Art in Indonesia’s Cultural Diplomacy, 1950–65
by Brigitta Isabella

Circulating Abstraction: Exhibiting Hong Kong in Manila, 1961–82
by Michelle Wong

Part 3: Contested Topographies

Place of Learning: The Contested Cultural Topographies of Nanyang University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong
by Simon S Y Soon

Re-Establishing the Kingdom: Anti-Communist Monuments in the Thai Highlands
by Thanavi Chotpradit

Part 4: Trauma and Affect

Aesthetics of Silence: Exploring Trauma and Indonesian Paintings After 1965
by Wulan Dirgantoro

Embodied Subjectivities: Accounts of Affect in Lani Maestro’s Site-Specific Work, 1970s–1990s
by Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez

Part 5: Defining ‘Art’ in Southeast Asia

Beyond Reality: Locating the Sur-Real in Thai Photography
by Clare Veal

Painting Through the Cheroot Haze: Censorship of Female Artists in Socialist Burma, 1962–88
by Melissa Carlson




Paperback RRP $39.99 AUD
ISBN 978-0-909952-92-1
100 illustrations
356 pp








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