ABOUT ASIA PHOTO REVIEW: Asia Photo Review is a community to showcase photography being produced from Asia and Asian photographers from around the world. Our goal is to promote honest reflection of these countries and the stories the inhabitants have to tell.
ABOUT AVENUE 50 STUDIO: Avenue 50 Studio is an arts presentation organization grounded in Latina/o/x culture, visual arts, and the Northeast Los Angeles area that seeks to bridge cultures through artistic expressions, using content-driven art to educate and to stimulate intercultural understanding. Avenue 50 Studio is widely recognized as an innovative leader in the field of art, and is a respected advocate and sought-after venue for patrons and for artists whose content-driven work offers insightful commentary about life in today’s multicultural world.
Nica Aquino (@nica_aquino)(b. 1990, Los Angeles) is a practicing visual artist and curator. She received her BFA in Photo from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR) and her MA in Contemporary Visual Culture from the School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University (United Kingdom). Her work has been shown locally, nationally and internationally, and she has been awarded grants by the California Arts Council and Eastside Arts Initiative for her curatorial and community engagement programming.
In her artwork, she primarily experiments with 35mm analogue photography, just documenting life as she sees it. No fancy bells and whistles, no manipulations, just a cheap point and shoot camera (the exact same model from her childhood), cheap film and what's in front of her at the time. She believes art making should be accessible, and that you don't always need the newest fanciest toys to create something meaningful.
Barangay Hustle(Metro Manila) “Barangay” originates from the word “balangay,” which is a Malay word for “sailboat.” Many Austronesian cultures come from seafaring ancestors & believe our spirits travel to the underworld on a boat. Today, barangays in the Philippines usually consist of up to 50-100 families coexisting in a small community together.
Baguio Palengke(Benguet) This is the well-known palengke (or public market) that is located in Baguio, Benguet. It is a place of livelihood for many locals, but also a place the locals go for sustenance, as well as a destination for tourists to gather & shop authentic handcrafted artisan goods, foods and more.
Philip Arneill (@philiparneill) is a photographer who, having lived for 20 years in Japan, is currently based in Northern Ireland. He holds an MA in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography and is currently researching his PhD through creative practice at Ulster University. His work explores the illusory ideas of home and culture by exploring insider-outsider dynamics, liminal spaces, and autoethnographic issues of place and identity. His work has been exhibited and published globally.
“‘Tokyo Jazz Diary’ was my first ever music-related photography project. As a punter myself I spent several years photographing the unique UK Jazz (or ‘Bebop’) Dance community in Tokyo clubs. It was centred around the legendary BeBopSquare event in the now defunct club Fai on Aoyama Dori. As a result the images are raw and grainy, which seems an appropriate reflection of the rough edges and raw energy of those sweaty nights in a scene at its peak. These images are from a time when I had just begun shooting in these intense, dimly lit club spaces vibrating with the heaviest, most incredible jazz and latin music. A dancer once told me that these nights and my images of them were the equivalent of ‘his Electric Ballroom’ (the legendary London club beloved by so many in the soul-funk-jazz scene of the 80s). It's a compliment I will always remember. Despite their imperfection, or maybe even because of it, I will forever associate these images with happy times - except getting kicked in the head a few times by spinning feet perhaps - and I made many treasured friends and memories in creating them. They give just a small window into a scene I documented in this work and my portraits in ‘Tokyo Jazz Document’, a later attempt to document this unique scene at a point in its life when it seemed to be changing unrecognisably.”-Philip Arneill
John DeCastro (@decastronaut) is a Pinoy-American visual artist and instructor based in LA, CA. Coming from a strong catholic upbringing, his work discusses the queer Filipino-American experience, an uncommon subject spoken through traditional Filipino arts. He incorporates techniques like embroidery, paper-making, and recycled collaged paper. Manila Paper and construction paper are some of the formats he’ll use to narrate and tell stories of his upbringing as a queer Filipino-American. His works are playful or pastel and open dialogue for individuals who seek safe spaces for POC queer identities. John continually collaborates with various artists to tell the stories of Queer POC, looking to represent more alternative stories and experiences. NO TOXIC MASCULINITY Without machismo culture, there would be inclusivity and freedom from the restrictions of gender politics and expectations. Toxic masculinity runs rampant in our society, plaguing the nature of our social interactions, academia, workplace etc. Understanding that because machismo culture coexists in our everyday lives, is understanding that the patriarch and oppression continually repress individuals of all backgrounds consciously and subconsciously. The piece is a message to every machismo suspect that has engaged in violence against LGBTQ+. Encouraging machismos to educate themselves on normalizing people being queer and letting them be themselves. Hopefully becoming an individual for unity and no longer the oppressor.
Eutalia De la Paz (@ae_del) is a New Jersey-based illustrator approaching stories with playful perspectives and vibrant color palettes. Since graduating from the School of Visual Arts, Eutalia has worked with clients such as Refinery29, Lithium Magazine, Adolescent Content, and Mercado Vicente among others. Her work has also been featured in the World Illustration Awards 2021 and Breakthrough US’ mini docuseries, Our Stories: In Vivid Color in 2019. Dabbling in various mediums, Eutalia’s work emphasizes her nostalgic memories through bold, flirty, and charismatic heroines within their own stories.
Stop AAPI Hate Tribute This was a personal piece in dedication to the six Asian women that lost their lives in the Atlanta spa shooting in 2021. (All proceeds to this piece will be donated towards an active fundraiser for AAPI justice.)
Asian Peril Supports Black Power This piece was created amidst George Floyd’s murder in 2020 and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests. (All proceeds to this piece will be donated to “Black Visions Collective,” a non-profit organization for black liberation/BLM.)
Hon Hoang (@honnnhoang) was born in Vietnam and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Shortly after graduating from UCLA with a degree in Psychology, he pursued photography with the eventual goal of making films.
His experience in Psychology has continued into his photography and films because of his curiosity in people and cultures. He creates photographs as a way to get a glimpse of humanity and pursues films as an exploration of it.
He believes that most of us feel a level of existential uncertainty, wondering who we’ll be because of who we were. His work explores this sensation and eventually comes to hopeful conclusions, for it to act as a sliver of light that guides us out of the dark.
In between films, projects, and photoshoots, he tries to fill in gaps with moments in street photography. Walking around Los Angeles or wherever he might be traveling, trying to capture beautiful moments within what seems to be a gritty landscape.
Antonio "Miko" Javiniar (@holamikoo) is a first-generation Filipino-American photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. Captivated by fleeting moments of nostalgia, Miko creates his work primarily through the medium of film photography. His work is inspired by themes of community, motherhood, and underrepresented stories of the human condition.
It Takes A Village After years of organizing and fighting the City of Los Angeles for a stake in the legal cannabis industry, community leader and social equity advocate, Kika Keith, became the first black woman to own a dispensary in the history of Los Angeles. Keith continues to work to remediate the damage done by the War on Drugs and provide opportunities to build generational wealth for black and brown communities.
Community members celebrating Kika Keith at the opening of Gorilla RX, the first black woman-owned dispensary in the history of Los Angeles.
No Justice, No Peace Unidentified woman leading a protest against police brutality and racism after the murder of George Floyd.
Katherine Leung (@kleungart) is a Cantonese-American, Vermont-based figurative painter and art piñata maker thinking about identity and ancestral longing. She has taught art in San Jose Unified in California and currently serves as a board member for a Vermont-based artists' guild. She is the founder and curator of Canto Cutie, an art and literature zine about the Cantonese diaspora.
Sipping Vita is a visual diary and celebration of childhood in two worlds united by common objects and tastes. Part of my childhood takes place in backyard pool parties followed by Eegee’s frozen piña coladas and piñatas amongst the backdrop of sweltering Tucson and Austin. These memories are juxtaposed by cozy meals nestled in busy alleyways “dai pai dong” style in the dizzying urban expanse of Hong Kong.
Vita juice boxes can be found in any HK corner snack bar and are a staple in any immigrant-owned grocery store in the Southwest of the United States. These piñatas tie my memories together by the potential for a celebration, a nostalgic explosion of familiar flavor on my tongue, and the instant transformation towards reminiscing and longing for a time when life was more simple. Vita is a Hong Kong-based brand, recognized worldwide, and a constant symbol of what little I carry of my parents’ culture as a first generation American, especially amidst the turmoil of the 2021 international uprisings following the sedition act and Umbrella Movement.
The physical act of creating each piñatas by hand and the folk-art labor intensiveness is an act of ancestral memory, of my family’s legacy as immigrant grocery store owners in the 60’s and 70's. Their journey brought me here and I taste their memory with appreciation and respect.
Philip Koscak (@philipkoscak) was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He earned his MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art (2017), and an MA in Visual Art (Interdisciplinary) and BA in Art (Illustration) from California State University, Northridge.
a moment (like this) From the selfie-driven wildflower blooms to the hypnotic poppy fields of the Emerald City, an abundance of flowers allures and is a universal language for life and beauty on this planet. As the cosmic claw tears through the bed of flowers, something new is created–something monstrous, something becoming. The stage of our past is set, but how we acknowledge it and react to it in the present sets the stage for our future.
Matt Manalo (@mattmanalo)was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting and Minor in Art History at the University of Houston.
Manalo creates work which involves elements of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and printmaking. He uses raw materials, found objects sometimes collected and oftentimes donated… By doing this, he is making his practice environmentally conscious as well as understanding the idea of scarcity and abundance. He uses the grid as a foundation for most of his work to tackle geography, cartography, borders, and the idea of displacement while having a constant conversation of how “home” should be defined. Being a first generation immigrant, Manalo discusses his experiences navigating around the physical and social structures of society through his work. As he explores this, home becomes a two-part environment where the artist is split between the Philippines and Texas. The latter sits on the southern border of the US. It is also important to mention that colonization of the Philippines by Spain, Japan and the United States resulted in erasure, colorism and colonial mentality; a frequent topic in Manalo’s work.
His work was recently seen in the exhibition, Carriers: The Body as a Site of Danger and Desire, Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas curated by Tyler Blackwell and Steven Matijcio and he is included in the 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape/ A Possible Horizon curated by Evan Garza and Ryan Dennis. Manalo is the founder of Filipinx Artists of Houston and runs an alternative art space called the Alief Art House.
Clouded Identity is a mixed media piece which hangs on the wall. It contains different materials which symbolize the different identities of the AAPI community. The words “A Colonial Mentality” is stenciled as the main focal point of the piece, which is a common imagery in Matt Manalo’s work. It discusses the common problem in the community where it clouds our ability to really realize our identities, histories, and traumas living in an imperialist country like the United States.
He started documenting concerts with a film camera, and delves into digital nowadays.
He uses photography as an intimate tool to remember faces and places, to express his feelings and visions.
To him, street photography is all about feeling the city, its sounds, scents and lights – the boundaries in between observing and living in the city.
His work has been exhibited in Japan, Italy, UK, Belgium, France, Philippines, Russia and The U.S.
He is co-founder of the Superluna Collective.
Community Is… Community is holding each other’s hands. Community is accepting similarities. Community is being together in happy times. Community is accepting diversities. Community is being together in sad times. Community is colors. Community is fun. Community is being gifted of the heart by your loved one. Community is feeling safe. Community is remembering tradition. Community is a warm hug. Community is love. A short street novel on Japanese community, as seen by foreigner's eyes.
Carol Anne McChrystal (@carolannemcchrystal) is a cultural worker with roots in the island nations of the Philippines and Ireland. Her sculptures have been exhibited at Mata Art Gallery, Avenue 50 Studio, and Acogedor Space, and internationally at D21 Kunstraum (Leipzig) and Horse & Pony, (Berlin). She has participated in several residency programs, including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, and Burren College of Art, and her arts writing has been published on platforms like Art Practical, and her work with the collaborative duo Nightmare City has been written about in publications such as ArtForum and Modern Painters. In 2021, she was a recipient of the Mozaik Foundation Ecosystem X, an award which recognizes artists using contemporary art as a medium for social change. Carol Anne received her MFA from California College of the Arts, and she is currently based on unceded Tongva land.
Pasalubong #7 Carol Anne McChrystal’s materially-driven sculpture practice uses chemical processes and labor-intensive hand-making to explore the legacy of colonialism and trade, as well as the ways in which the climate catastrophe has compounded these histories of inequity. Inhabiting the tension between Earth’s immense history and the absurdly mundane everyday experience of plastic, her practice consolidates the painstakingly hand-made with mass-produced consumables in order to pry open a speculative space in which to resist the means-ends rationale of late capitalism.
Her recent sculptures concentrate on the ancestral handicrafts of her two island homelands of Ireland and the Philippines. Influenced by time spent in familial homelands witnessing the role that globalized industry plays in the dissolution of cultural practices, these works take the form of plaited floor mats traditionally made from local plant fibers. Informed by constructs of home and her own family migration story, she hand-weaves these objects from non-traditional materials like blue tarpaulins, single-use beverage bottles, discarded plastic wrappers and other products of oil extraction that she collects from specific landscapes. Using material and method hand in hand, these works are a meditation on how extractive industry and climate catastrophe impact local experiences of home and shelter.
Born in the Philippines and raised in the Bay Area, Aaron Mendoza (@aawoza)has spent the last 5 years expressing emotion and remembering moments through his art in photography. Currently 22, he continues to create images as a form of artistic therapy.
Kapamilya From the city of my birth in Pasig City, Philippines. It was my first time walking around the streets of my hometown since I was born there. In a way I felt as if I didn't belong anymore, but as I continued to explore the neighborhood, I was reminded of the community I was once, and still a part of. Even though I live on the other side of the world, I know my culture and upbringing are still here and will always remain as part of my identity.
Searching for Myself I continue to reach out to a part of me that feels intangible. So I raise my arms into the skies and space to discover the oneness that I longed for. Though it's through searching the sky for a while that reminds the self of already belonging to this world. Connected to every living thing, oneself, and all others.
Sean Niu (@sameseanniulook) is a photographer and screenwriter based in Los Angeles.
Fête is inspired by impressionist works like Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party and Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It captures the beautiful moment of respite and collective sigh of relief after we received the vaccine in America. Finally we felt safe to reconnect in person with our loved ones.
In Immortality, two beings permanently encased in sculpture are juxtaposed by a pair of youths in mid-play. Although on completely different ends of the temporal spectrum, all four figures are immortalized in a static photograph.
Tim Russell(@timrussellphotography): “I'm a street/documentary photographer based in Bangkok, Thailand. Originally from the UK, I came to Southeast Asia for work on a one-year contract in 2003 and never went home. I first got into photography when I got my first DSLR in 2009, and have been photographing 'seriously' since 2016, regularly pounding the streets of Bangkok and also doing some work for local charities & NGOs. The aim of my photography is to shine a light on those parts of Thai society that are generally ignored.” -Tim Russell
After the Flood “These images were taken in Thailand's former capital Ayutthaya in October 2021. The city was suffering its worst flooding for a decade, following heavy rains during tropical storm Danmu which lead to the Chaophraya River bursting its banks and flooding surrounding villages and many historic Buddhist temples.
I went there with local charity Bangkok Community Help Foundation to photograph their flood relief efforts, delivering food and other essentials to stranded villagers. We were struck by how cheerful, happy and welcoming the locals were despite their plight - there were no complaints, no looting, no aggression; just friendly people happy to see us, and grateful for the help offered by the charity.”-Tim Russell
Sej Saraiya (@sejvsaraiya) (b. 1985) is an ethnographic and fine art photographer who has spent the last several years documenting indigenous cultures around the world. She graduated with an MFA from the University of Southern California in 2009 and has since traveled to the deep interiors of Asia and the Americas, capturing portraits that tell stories of remote cultures.
Her photographic work has taken her to some of the most remote corners of this planet, putting her in contact with profound treasures—from the tattooed headhunters of hidden India to the medicine women of British Columbia; from the shamans of the Venezuelan Amazonas to such globally revered leaders and humanitarians as Their Holinesses the Dalai Lama and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar; from the stunning landscapes of the United States to Vedic scientists and global healers; all with the broader vision of preserving our world’s cultures and lands.
She speaks in a variety of forums, holds workshops, and moderates or contributes to panels at universities, museums, and festivals. Her photographs have been exhibited both in America and India and hang in the homes of private collectors worldwide. She currently resides in Topanga, CA.
WOMEN OF THE LOTUS THE LAST HEADHUNTER WOMEN: FARMING TOGETHER “Since time immemorial, Western cultures, through progressive development, have emphasized on cultivating the “I” just as the Eastern world and the indigenous populations have been dominated by “We” through their familial growth. While individualism in the West affords freedom, and allows for uninhibited personal growth and blossoming creativity, self-centered progress is a harbinger of stress and a loss of sense of belonging. The collectivist Eastern culture is built on the foundation of accountability sacrificing individual growth; but community and group harmony are extremely valued, abolishing the sense of loneliness even among the incapacitated. After spending a decade in the West, I returned to the spiritually charged East to witness a persistent awareness of unity ingrained in daily rituals, and a sense of community that hasn’t died. Watching the last remaining headhunters (85-95 years of age) of a forgotten land gather in their morung (or men’s communal house) every day; women going for a dip in their beloved sacred lake in Rajasthan with their sisters; watching the tribal people show up for each other in ways that we seem to have forgotten has been a beautiful ode to what it is to be human and how we can lose our humanity by losing our sense of connection with each other.” -Sej Saraiya
Sunset Suh (@suhbliminal)is a queer, non-binary Korean-American painter. He was raised in Kansas City by his grandparents and father. Suh’s grandfather immigrated from South Korea to escape the Korean War and pursue a life of academia (Political Science) studying and teaching throughout the midwest with Sunset’s grandmother and five other children. When Sunset was ten years old, his father committed suicide - unable to assimilate successfully into the American Dream. His father was a painter and embedded empathy skills early on while sustaining Sunset and his brother’s creative development. Sunset’s grandfather was a civil rights activist and founder of the Kansas City Korean Civil Rights Coalition, providing mutual aid in the greater Kansas City area. Meanwhile, Suh’s grandmother taught him how to pick bean sprouts and prune roses from the garden.
Suh explores intersectional themes of time, space, queerness, race - the complexities and resilience of contemporary Asian-American experiences through painting and drawing.
His work is an existential worm hole into vulnerability, the body's own somatic language and questioning conditioned, imperialistic culture. Suh's paintings unveil the void and devoid of our world- hidden sensibilities are asking to be channeled, a methodology to tinker our internal compass.
Suh graduated with a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2013 and is based in Portland, Oregon with Lunar Phase Studio. Suh was awarded both First Prize in the Charles Voorhies Drawing Competition and the President's Prize in the PNCA BFA Juried Show in 2012.
Living World, Flowering Nights Wonhwa in Korean is composed of won 源, "source", and hwa 花, "flower". Have faith in the flesh = Honor our original flowers against western conditioning = Heal the infrastructure = Radiant nights
Wildflowers Can't Be Broken Rowing that Big Cute Community Boat in the imperialist hologram
Taylor Terewai Tiave (@by.terewai) is a wahine watercolor and digital artist whose work mirrors the deep connection she feels to her Polynesian heritage, especially to the women who honor and embody Polynesian values. Many of her pieces feature women who carry and cherish their culture in a modern-day world.
Ngā Wāhine celebrates the beauty and strength embodied in Polynesian women. Each brings their own beauty and traditions, none is better than the other, and together they carry the nations of te moana (the ocean).
Aziz Yonuss (@ayonuss) is an artist located in Los Angeles CA. He is an alumni of the graduate program at Art Center College of Design.
Phone My main body of work is self portraits. I enjoy the creative ways artists have portrayed themselves and their personal stories through self portraiture. Unexpectedly the Phone painting ended up being a very loaded painting for me that year. 2017 was the year Trump was elected to office, and his presidency was the start of my path to unlearning so many things I had been blind to. In a very literal way, social media was an aggressive tool that helped with my education and developed my sense of self within a larger backdrop of colonial history and community. Being born in India, then getting adopted by Afghani parents and transplanted to America can complicate a sense of origin or place, especially when trying to be a model minority. The chaotic years of Trump were a reflection of the values and beliefs of a Western mindset that was never mine, and were not rooted in a place of goodwill. And all the beliefs I had learned from such a value system were not to be trusted.
Veiled Woman Though my parents are Afghani, there are a lot of Indians in my extended family. Bollywood was a large part of my childhood. The Veiled Woman is a still from a movie titled Umrao Jaan, set in the 1800s. I always preferred the Bollywood movies that were set in the past because it felt like a time machine, and I was learning more about my country - seeing the land, the costumes, the sets, the architecture. Though my parents were not Indian, they could relate and tell random personal stories if they saw certain clothes or objects in these old movies - reminiscing about moments when they saw certain films in movie theaters. Painting Veiled Woman was a way of recreating the experience I felt watching old movies, but by making the image rather than watching it in a movie.
Tablas A big part of Bollywood movies are the song and dance set pieces. While American movies have songs from popular culture as soundtracks in their movies, Bollywood films usually have original music written for the movie, and usually the songs relate to a plot point and also can be used as a transition. While most kids my age were listening to music of the time, I was buying cassettes of Indian movie soundtracks at a local store and listening to them repeatedly. Sometimes they’d have the lyrics to the songs printed on the paper inserts in the cassette boxes and through repetition, I’d eventually memorize the lyrics to songs without knowing what the words meant. The tabla is the foundation of Indian music as it lays the rhythm for singing and dance choreography. Sometimes it sounds like rocks hitting a window, other times it can sound like water. There is very little I can say about this painting. It isn’t grand or loaded with deeper meaning in any way. Tablas is a painting made in the spirit of nostalgia.
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