Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai, ID Card (detail) (2014), 340 heat transfer prints on recycled fabric on a table. Each: H. 2 1/4 x W. 3 1/8 inches (courtesy the artist)

Asia Society Museum’s new exhibition After Darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the Wake of History, on view through January 21, 2018, explores artistic practice in response to social and political change. Works of sculpture, photography, video, and installation, by artists from Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam, reflect on how political transition in each country forged vibrant, socially conscious contemporary art movements.

From Indonesia, FX Harsono and Tintin Wulia create politically charged commentaries on Reformasi and its aftereffects. The works of Dinh Q. Lê and The Propeller Group collective reflect the complicated legacy of the American-Vietnam War. Htein Lin and Nge Lay’s intense, personal works respond to Myanmar’s gradual transition away from authoritarian, military regimes. The works of Angki Purbandono and Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai continue the tradition of socially-engaged art.

Related public events exploring Southeast Asia’s culture, politics, and history coincide with the exhibition. On September 16, Htein Lin casts hands of former political prisoners at the Museum, as part of his ongoing project, A Show of Hands, followed by “After Darkness: Reflecting on Creativity in Times of Conflict,” a conversation between Htein Lin and FX Harsono, moderated by Michelle Yun.

On September 26, “The Legacy of Vietnam” features a new documentary, with Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, Duong Van Mai Elliott, and Bob Kerrey. On October 20, the symposium “Negotiating Change: Art from Societies in Transition” will be followed by a staged reading and artist Q&A, “Passport In/Passport Out: Stories of Dinh Q. Lê and Tintin Wulia.”

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