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Invisible Hands: The Ethnic Chinese Influence on the Development of Southeast Asian Contemporary Art from 1990 to 2022

Chen, N-T (2023) Invisible Hands: The Ethnic Chinese Influence on the Development of Southeast Asian Contemporary Art from 1990 to 2022. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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This thesis will evaluate the influence of ethnic chinese people on contemporary Asian art with particular reference to Southeast Asia from 1990 to present. This research will focus on the evolution of these contemporary art movements by reviewing the causes, the formation and condition of the Asian contemporary art process. This will include analysing the influence of culture, history, politics and Asian regional developments. Additionally, the influence of the ethnic Chinese, which includes China mainlanders, overseas Chinese and diaspora Chinese in Asia on these contemporary art movements will be analysed.

The research will provide and discuss the elements and possibilities for Eastern and Southeast Asian art, particularly in contemporary art. World art history can easily be categorised by geographic district and cultural difference: for example, Western art; the art of Europe; African art; Latin American art. Yet, the Southeast Asian art background integrated ancient Indian culture and ancient Chinese culture and developed their own cultural features. From the Western point of view, the history of Southeast Asian art was based on the study of ethnography and its anthropological exploration and roots and imagination. Modern and contemporary art in Southeast Asia was a study of evolution from colonialism to the 1990s. Local artists and art history researchers have begun to transcend this confrontation between the East and the West and to conduct cross-regional dialogue. There is evident a significant difference of view between themselves and western researchers (others).

This research will investigate the ethnic Chinese influence in the Southeast Asian Contemporary Art environment. Southeast Asia is the region with the largest number of overseas Chinese and their population is suggested to be over 40 million, as recorded by the Chinese government. Regarding Southeast Asian Chinese, the most impressive thing about them to the world is their economic strength, as ethnic Chinese in the Southeast are mostly wealthy. Therefore, in the Southeast Contemporary Asian art world, the main promoters, sponsors and collectors are also local Chinese. Those Chinese have private museums, commercial galleries and financial support from the government’s art and culture policies. On the other hand, many Southeast Asian artists’ background originates from Chinese culture and their art relates to their artistic personal family tree and Chinese background.

As a result of the researcher’s unusual position as an Asian scholar, but who has been educated and operated in the West, this research provides unique new insights into the overall development of contemporary art in Southeast Asia through an analysis of the development of East and Southeast Asian countries. In addition, based on the background of the world history and current globalisation situation, this thesis contributes to knowledge by revealing the probable new development methods and the paths for the future of Asian contemporary art. The research will examine the diversity and possibilities for contemporary Chinese art, culture and history.

This thesis explores the deliberately weakened existence of Southeast Asian Chinese artists in Southeast Asian society and the government. Facing the social environment in which contemporary Chinese ethnic people live, ethnic Southeast Asian Chinese artists choose to use art as a symbol and means to record their living experiences and cultural heritage. Through artistic practice and research which is documented in this thesis, I strive to unearth the truth about ethnic Southeast Asian Chinese artists which has been concealed, and to reflect the real social situation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Contemporary Asian Art; Curating; Sinophone Studies In Artistic Practices; The Cultural Identity of Chinese Diaspora
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Art & Design
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2023 16:33
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2023 16:34
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00021853
Supervisors: Roberts, E and Birchall, M
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21853
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