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More Asian Art News about Texas.


New Building in 2011 and now a new Executive Director: Bonna Kol

We have an incredible resource for Asia right here in Texas. Asia Society Texas Center, in Houston, one of eleven centers across the globe, offers a great many programs in many areas – Business and Politics, Arts and Culture, Education and Outreach, from politics, to films, books, music, art exhibits, symposia, and the famous yearly Tiger Ball – taking place this year February 27th.

January 31st – Dengue Fever, Sleepwalking through the Mekong; the California based band taking 60’s Cambodian rock as their inspiration. My son gave me one of their early CDs and I liked it !

Dengue Fever. (Chean Long)

Dengue Fever. (Chean Long)

a refreshing blend of Cambodian sounds, surf rock and psych rock. — The Examiner
They’re California-based but have taken ’60’s Cambodian pop as their main source of inspiration and it’s done with style. It’s spirited, impassioned. — Peter Gabriel

Excerpt of Sleepwalking Through the Mekong to Open
Dengue Fever’s music has been featured on HBO’s hit series True Blood, CBS’ CSI: Las Vegas, Showtime’s Weeds, and in The Hangover Part II. Spin Magazine highlighted the band in their “Breaking Out” section, and profiles have appeared in The New York Times, Mojo, Magnet,Wired, NPR’s Fresh Air, and Radio Australia.
To date, the band has released four critically acclaimed LPs, as well as a compilation of rare Cambodian gems, Electric Cambodia, and the inspiring documentary of its 2005 Cambodia tour,Sleepwalking Through The Mekong. Since their start in 2002, their creative output has led them through a multicultural genre blend of psychedelia, surf rock, afrobeat, and spaghetti western to name a few. Their bold experimentations garnered praise from critics and fans alike. (Asia Society/Texas)

The exhibit about Weavers Stories from Island Southeast Asia — showing and explaining weaving and batik techniques and designs.
Open through February 9th, 2014


In the Southeast Asian archipelago, making cloth is regarded as the archetypal form of women’s work and creativity. Traditionally, women learned the textile arts — typically weaving or making batik — before they were eligible for marriage. Later in life, excelling in making cloth, and especially in mastering complex natural-dye processes, was regarded as the highest measure of a woman’s achievement.
In Weavers’ Stories from Island Southeast Asia, organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA, weavers and batik artists speak for themselves in videos recorded at eight sites in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and East Timor. What motivates them to create new patterns? How do they adjust to changing social and economic situations? A panoply of human emotions and experience—determination, longing, dream inspiration, theft, war, and more—emerge from the stories of these remarkable women. The videos are accompanied by newly made textiles created by each of the featured weavers and batik makers.

In one video, for example, a weaver in Tutuala, at the far eastern tip of Timor, describes how her ancestors designed a cloth pattern by copying the skin of a snake. She recounts that this “snake cloth,” now served by the snake spirit, became an object of such power that when one was stolen during a militia rampage in 1999, snakes destroyed all the coconut trees in Baucau in revenge. Another weaver tells of learning weaving patterns from her deceased mother, an expert weaver, when her mother visits her in dreams.

These seven- to 10-minute oral histories include interesting footage of daily life with extended families and the interplay of generations, detailed looks at weaving and dyeing techniques, and unique celebrations, such as a wedding in a sultan’s palace. Textiles created by the featured weavers and batik makers accompany each video. (Asia Society/Texas)

Between History and New Horizons: Photographs of Women, Work, and Community in Laos
Open through February 9th, 2014


For most of the 100+ distinct ethnic groups found throughout the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, textile making has long been considered the domain of women. In recent years, however, the lives of many have undergone extraordinary change due to slow, but steady economic development; new cash-based livelihood strategies; and migration. This is particularly true for ethnic minority women. In the face of land tenure insecurity, poor crop yields, and resettlement, textile production is often the primary generator of household income in addition to being a way of preserving the cultural history of families and communities. Still, cloth making is but one aspect of women’s workday.

What constitutes labor in this shifting economy and how do women depict their roles in it? Consisting of professional portraits and personal photographs, Between History and New Horizons: Photographs of Women, Work, and Community in Laos, offers a window into the changing lives of rural, ethnic women.

Co-organized by Asia Society Texas Center and the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC), Luang Prabang, the exhibition features photos from TAEC’s archives as well as images produced by participants in a community-based project entitled Stiching our Stories. The latter is led by PhotoForward, which seeks to equip minority women with tools to document their own lives. Between History and New Horizons provides an all-too-infrequent glimpse of contemporary Laos, the perspectives of ethnic women, and the transformation of traditional skills into modern livelihoods. (Asia Society/Texas)


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