Public Program

6th Art Sonje Workshop: Small Spaces in Mekong Region

2011. 12. 2, 1pm

Lounge 1F Art Sonje Center

6th Art Sonje Workshop: Small Spaces in Mekong Region

Under the title “Small Spaces in the Mekong Region,” the 2011 6th Art Sonje Workshop invites the directors of four independent art spaces in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam to introduce their spaces and activities as well as the contemporary art scene in the Mekong region.

The longest river in Southeast Asia, the Mekong starts from the Tibetan Plateau and runs through China’s Yunnan province, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and serves as a main artery of transport and everyday life for the people living in the region. Among these countries, the directors of four independent art spaces in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam have been invited to offer their various perspectives on the art scene surrounding the Mekong region, which is at the confluence of many different cultures. Besides reflecting the sense of identity that is specific to the Mekong region, these art spaces are also interesting in that they are managed independently. The small spaces explore alternative practices to contemporary art each through their own unique program of exhibitions and activities. The 2011 6th Art Sonje Workshop will serve as a first step to promote exchange and cooperation with contemporary art spaces in the Mekong region by offering an occasion to share thoughts on the direction of contemporary art spaces in Asia as well as explore the potential for future collaborations with Art Sonje Center.

Aye Ko, Director of the New Zero Art Space in Yangon, Myanmar, will introduce the history of modern art in Myanmar and talk about the background of the New Zero Art Space and its activities. Director of the Reading Room in Bangkok, Thailand Narawan Kyo Pathomvat, who sees the contemporary art scene in Thailand as a “space of dislocation,” will discuss about how art can become closer to our communities. Erin Gleeson, Director of SA SA BASSAC of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, will offer an outlook on the future of the Cambodian art scene by sharing the history of SA SA BASSAC, which was co-founded with the artist group Stiev Selepak/Art Rebels. Last but not least, Richard Streitmatter-Tran, Director of Dia/Projects, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and the invited speaker to the 5th Art Sonje Workshop, will explain about the evolving nature of Dia/Projects as a space for discussions, research, and studies in a wider reading of the small spaces in the Mekong region as productive field of “engagement” of contemporary art.

About the Lecturers

– Aye Ko / Director, New Zero Art Space (Yangon, Myanmar)

Born in Pathein in 1963, Aye Ko founded ‘Olive’ art gallery in 1994 and started art movement with Modern Art 90 exhibition in 1990s, New Zero Art Space, in 2008. He is also a writer, an art critic. He is a chief editor and a publisher of Hlaing Thit and Fashion magazine. He curated Performance Art festival in 2005, Asean Contemporary Art Exchange in 2009, Artist residency program 2010. He also received 2005-Asia cultural council award in New York.

*New Zero Art Space

This non-profit art space was founded in 2008 by Aye Ko and is organized with 22 members, 7 Board of Directors and 1 Chairman, and 30 Next Generation artists. In New Zero, there are two apartments: one is for the gallery and for making exhibitions and seminars. There are a library, a studio, a kitchen and a living room in another apartment. Art books, magazines, DVD and literary books are available in the library. Now, the artist residency program is start in 2010.

– Narawan Kyo Pathomvat / Director, Reading Room (Bangkok, Thailand) 

Narawan Pathomvat is the founder and director of a contemporary art library/non-profit platform, The Reading Room (Bangkok & Chiang Mai). She receives her MPS (Arts and Cultural Management) from Pratt Institute (New York), and BA (English Literature) from Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok), and previously worked for Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York), and Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong). Narawan is a lecturer at Department of Art History, Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University. She is also an independent curator, writer, and translator.

*Reading Room

The Reading Room is a contemporary art library, project space, and cultural platform. The Reading Room focuses on the following notions: Documentation & Archive; Education & Information Distribution; Networking & Community Building, within the art and cultural community, locally and internationally; and Connection with sociopolitical organizations, collectives, and the general public. The library contains two distinct resource sections: contemporary Thai art materials; and art reference books from other countries. The Reading Room not only recognizes the significance of the archive and documentation in contemporary society, we also aim to create dialogue both within the art community and between diverse fields of knowledge in order to gain awareness and knowledge of other fields of practice. For public and educational programs, they provide seminars, lectures, screenings, and workshops in various fields from art, literature and film to sociopolitical issues that are relevant to contemporary culture.


– Erin Gleeson / Director, SA SA BASSAC (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Erin Gleeson is a curator and writer specializing in Cambodian contemporary art. Since 2004, she organized and curated numerous exhibitions, panels and projects in Cambodia and internationally. In 2008 she founded BASSAC Art Projects to provide studio space, educational programs, publications, and travel support for emerging Cambodian artists and audiences. Early this year, she co-founded the gallery and resource center SA SA BASSAC in Phnom Penh, which she curates and directs.


SA SA BASSAC is a gallery and resource center co-founded in 2011 by curator Erin Gleeson and artist collective Stiev Selepak / Art Rebels. Located in the heart of Cambodia’s capital city, SA SA BASSAC, they are dedicated to creating, facilitating, producing, and sharing contemporary visual culture and projects from Cambodia, both inside and outside of our space. In the gallery, we present singular exhibitions of new work by local Cambodian artists. Each exhibition is supported by public programs for all ages in Khmer and English. Outside the gallery, we collaborate with others to produce a range of activities such as documentaries, publications, and performances. The first of its kind in the country, our by-donation art library is accessible for public use in our reading room.


– Richard Streitmatter-Tran / Director, Dia/Projects (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

Richard STREITMATTER-TRAN (b. 1972, Bien Hoa, Vietnam) is an artist living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He received his degree in the Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. He was an arts correspondent for the Madrid-based magazine Art.Es and Ho Chi Minh City editor for Contemporary and has published in several catalogs and periodicals. In 2005 he received the Contemporary Asian Art Research Grant from the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong for his year-long research project, Mediating the Mekong. He was Teaching Assistant at Harvard University (2000-2004), conducted media arts research at the MIT Media Lab (2000) and a visiting lecturer at the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University in 2003. He was an advisor to the Para/Site Curatorial Programme in Hong Kong. He is currently a lecturer at RMIT International University Vietnam.


Dia/Projects, a contemporary arts experiment was established in 2010 located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The studio space contains a library, regional archives and serves as both a meeting area and an umbrella for international and local arts initiatives. It has hosted three researchers-in-residence, and recently has produced output from VILE/RATS, a persona created to investigate arts, philosophy, science and speculation.

2011. 12. 2, 1pm
Lounge 1F Art Sonje Center
Aye Ko, Erin Gleeson, Narawan Kyo Pathomvat, Richard Streitmatter-Tran
Hosted by
Art Sonje Center
Curated by
Sponsored by
Arts Council Korea