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Pacific Itineraries: Islands and Oceanic Imaginaries in Contemporary Asian American Art

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image of Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

This essay focuses on the Asia Pacific region and selected works by contemporary US-based Asian American artists that engage shared themes of trans-Pacific journeys, circulation, conflict, and convergence between Asian diasporic, Indigenous, and other groups. The Pacific, with more islands than the world’s other oceans combined, is above all an island realm. Accordingly islands and associated oceanic imaginaries exert a powerful hold on works by artists who trace their ancestral origins to coastal East and Southeast Asia and Oceania. These artists’ endeavours underscore the idea of islands as multi-located historic and affective subjects within global systems of cross-cultural exchange. Through the different levels of focalization they provide, the featured artworks render insights into the formation of complex, multiple points of attachment as contemporary artists cross and re-cross borders: physical, temporal, and psychic.

Affiliations: 1: University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, usa,


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