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Artist in Residence

Andrea Chung (www.AndreaChungArt.com)

Andrea Chung lives and works in San Diego, California. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design, New York, and a Master of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. Her recent biennale and museum exhibitions include Prospect 4, New Orleans and the Jamaican Biennale, Kingston, Jamaica, as well as the Chinese American Museum and California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and the San Diego Art Institute. In 2017, her first solo museum exhibition took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, You broke the ocean in half to be here. She has participated in national and international residencies including the Vermont Studio Center, McColl Center for Visual Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been written about in the Artfile Magazine, New Orleans Times, Picayune, Artnet, Los Angeles Times, and International Review of African-American Art, as well as a number of academic essays looking at the subject of colonialism and slavery in the Caribbean.

Artist Statement - In collaboration with Tao Goffe (Cornell) - https://www.taoleighgoffe.com

Ferment will explore cultural preservation, specifically the spaces in which Afro-Asian culture is preserved in the Caribbean and its diaspora. On a micro and macro level, we will examine the historical processes through which cultural memory is produced. We will create a new body of work based on our collective research on overseas Chinese commercial spaces, including shops, as contact zones of cultural, racial mixture and new possibility. Together we will draw on archival records, photography, artifacts, and other material objects collected on travels over the years to Mauritius, the Netherlands, Suriname, London, and Trinidad. 

The Caribbean is a crucible of Amerindian, African, Chinese, Indian, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and European entangled histories born from colonial plantation beginnings. The region was a major sugar exporter where large numbers of enslaved Africans and then indentured laborers from India, China, Southeast Asia, and Africa lived and labored together on and after the brutality of the plantation regime. Distinct and overlapping histories of colonialism formed new cultures through which the Caribbean disrupts and decenters Europe in everyday Caribbean rituals of eating, leisure, and worship. 

The disjointing of European colonialism caused collisions of people from disparate cultures, religions, and practices, each attempting to preserve their own heritage in everyday acts. We examine the tensions and intimacies formed when people struggle to maintain tradition amid the birth of new modern subjects with competing racial and ethnic allegiances. 

This new installation will be both virtual and physical on-site in San Diego. It will feature sound sculptural elements that we will create incorporating multimedia technologies such as virtual reality and projection mapping to show how memory is activated through various sensorial triggers. We will explore cultural objects and artifacts that are coded as Black and Asian and the methods of food preservation native to the Caribbean and especially pirate culture.  African and Asian practices of salting and pickling are as significant as archival and other modes of colonial preservations in museums. Fermentation as an analytic and conceptual framework will be the lens we use to explore Afro-Chinese histories and futures. 

Small retail Chinese shops are also a major recurring theme in our exploration of Afro-Asian intimacies and our Caribbean cultural heritage. Inspired by Patricia Powell’s novel The Pagoda that tells the story of a Chinese shopkeeper who lives in nineteenth-century rural Jamaica, we explore the quotidian, conjugal, and commercial relationships between Black patrons and Chinese merchants across time. In Ferment., we will design a multimedia, multisensorial virtual space that will function as a digital archive for recording these missing histories of African and Asian diasporic intersections. 

We want the viewer to question how meaning is made and who preserves it. We are interested in creating a cross-cultural and global dialogue surrounding not only the ways in which histories are written preserved, but also in who’s making the decisions to preserve them and the politics and transactions behind their acquisition.