s an Asian American artist, curator, and critic, I have been actively examining visual art produced by artists of Asian heritage living in the United States, that specifically addresses intertwined issues of ethnic, racial, gender, and cultural identification in the context of western society. Over time, I have observed that increasing numbers of artists are consciously or unconsciously dealing with the issue of Orientalism, as a western European-derived master narrative that has come to define American perceptions of Asia as the West's eternal antipode -- a site of hyper-exoticism, eroticism, barbarism and cruelty -- and Asians (and by extension, Asian Americans) as purveyors of ancient arcane wisdom, and thoroughly non-western ways of doing things. Such deep seated notions persist, despite the ever-accelerating pace of transcultural interchange of people, goods, ideas, and images that, in fundamental ways, is mutually transforming both Asian and western cultures. Therefore, I consider deciphering the ways in which Asian American identities are specifically produced and embodied in the orientalized and racialized "containment field" of the United States (whose "Protestant, Anglo-American" brand of Orientalism differs from those found in other western countries and former colonial spheres), necessary to clarifying the multivalent nature of the discursive space that Asians enter, or into which they are born; and to what extent it shapes and/or reconfigures their conceptions of self and ethnic/racial identifications. As such, I have become increasingly attentive to the ways American Orientalism impacts on artistic expressions of people of Asian heritage dwelling in this nation, as well as on how their work is both understood and received. Accordingly, I would like to include artworks that directly engage with issues surrounding Orientalism (and Occidentalism) in the North American context -- which involve considerations of how Asians have been represented by the West, how photography has long impacted on that process, and how the medium can also be used as a means of critiquing/subverting Orientalism.
Further, I am interested in issues of multiple migration, as indeed, migration from or through one of many Asian diasporic communities around the world is increasingly common -- and has become one of the major challenges to long-standing conceptions of Asian American history, which has often been solely framed as a narrative of migration from originary points in Asia. Entering America with a multi racial heritage or preexisting bicultural identity, as -- for example -- an ethnic Indian from South Africa or Trinidad; an ethnic Chinese from Vietnam or Mexico; or an ethnic Japanese or Korean from Brazil, to name only a few, is hardly the same as arriving directly from an Asian homeland. Issues arising from mixed marriages across racial and ethnic lines also weigh into this discourse, as, for that matter, do the tensions and rewards inherent in the many permutations of identity that can be experienced in one body -- biracial, biethnic, and so on. Thus, I believe that Asian American artists who address the complexities of creolized or syncretized cultural backgrounds (for instance, the postcolonial condition of societies like the Philippines, in which centuries of Spanish colonial rule have produced a hybrid culture combining indigenous and European elements) also contribute a significant dimension to the contemporary discourse about transnational identities in formation.