'No Ocean Between Us' Exhibition to Feature Modern and Contemporary Art by Latin American and Caribbean Artists of Asian Descent

  • December 17, 2020 10:50

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Arturo Kubotta, Cosmic Sedimentation, 1963, mixed media. ©OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Collection. Gift of Bernice Weinstein.
Tikashi Fukushima, Verde (Green), 1972, oil on canvas. © OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Collection
Tomie Ohtake, Untitled, 1968, oil on canvas. © OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Collection.
Wilfredo Lam, Retrato, 1982, lithograph. © OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Collection
Yutaka, Toyota, Em Tempo Anterior ao Nada (In the Time before Nothing), 1970, mixed media. © OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Collection.

On February 12, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) will open No Ocean Between Us, an exhibition that explores the art of Asian diasporas in Latin America and the Caribbean. The exhibition features approximately 65 works of modern and contemporary art by Latin American and Caribbean artists of Asian descent, including painter and printmaker Wifredo Lam; installation artists Carlos Runcie Tanaka and Eduardo Tokeshi; painters Manabu Mabe and Tomie Ohtake; and video artist Laura Fong Prosper, among numerous others. The works included range from paintings and works on paper to installation and new media. No Ocean Between Us: Art of Asian Diasporas in Latin America & the Caribbean, 1945–Present will remain on view through May 9, 2021.

The exhibition is organized around Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Panels within the exhibition provide brief descriptions of Asian diasporic communities and cultures in these countries as well contexts for the histories of migrations from China, India, Indonesia, and Japan. Global forces such as colonialism, plantation labor, and war shaped the courses of Asian migration to Latin American and the Caribbean.

Some artists featured in the exhibition engage directly with these histories of migration and diaspora, the intergenerational Asian Latin American experience, or the hybridity of cross-cultural exchange. Many of the featured artists converse with global artistic movements of their moment. For example, the art of Wifredo Lam engages with the legacies of colonialism and enslavement in his home country, Cuba, while deploying the aesthetic language of cubism and surrealism. Peruvian artist Carlos Runcie Tanaka has leveraged the formal qualities of ceramics, origami, glass, and video installations to break down and examine existing cultural understandings of identity and history. The exhibition also features American artists who identify as part of these communities, including Guyana-born, Denver-based artist Suchitra Mattai, whose works in painting, fiber, drawing, collage, and video question historical narratives and colonialism and reclaim cultural materials.

“Cross-cultural exchanges and dialogues have had an incredible impact on the development of global art movements and continue to shape the creation of art today. No Ocean Between Us offers an opportunity to learn about the under-explored influences of Asian artists in Latin America and Caribbean, as well as the history and contemporary identities of the region. This is a growing area of study, and I am excited to share the incredible work of the featured artists with our audiences,” said Lucía Abramovich Sánchez, SAMA’s Associate Curator of Latin American Art. “This exhibition also establishes interesting connections with the Museum’s extensive Latin American and Asian art collections, expanding the narratives that we can tell across our permanent and special exhibition galleries.”

No Ocean Between Us was inspired by the permanent collection of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas of the Organization of American States, with additional loans from public and private collections. It was originally conceived by Adriana Ospina, OAS AMA’s Collections Curator and Educational Programming Manager, under the title Cultural Encounters: Art of Asian Diasporas in Latin America & the Caribbean, 1945–Present. At SAMA, the exhibition is being curated by Lucía Abramovich Sánchez, Associate Curator of Latin American Art, and Yinshi Lerman-Tan, Acting Associate Curator of American and European Art. Following its presentation at SAMA, the exhibition will conclude its tour at OAS AMA, opening there on June 5, 2021.

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