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Offed Duty 

a Duo Exhibition by Kanitharin Thailamtong and Xia Zhang

Opening on 1st Feb 2019 at 6 PM Exhibition until 18 Mar 19

Curated by Bongkoch Chansri and Elissa Rae Ecker


Exploring themes of societal, familial and gendered expectations Chinese American artist Xia Zhang and Thai illustrator Kanitharin Thailamtong present works examining the roles their cultures unwittingly place on them. Using autobiographical narratives to challenge and expose societal pressures and toxic norms the audience is confronted with their own complicity in systems that both artists confront to reject. Through video installation and digital illustrations, a common language is found to publicize cross culturally. Offed Duty is a call to end presumptions that continue to globally endure.

Xia Zhang is a Chinese American multi-disciplinary artist who works with process as a medium to convey intersectional concepts of craft, colonialism, and femininity. She earned her MFA in 2015 and has completed residencies with Sonoma Ceramics (Sonoma, CA) in 2015, and awarded the Windgate Craft Artists Fellowship to participate at the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT) in 2016. Since 2012, Xia has exhibited nationally and in China. She is presently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at The University of Tulsa (Tulsa, OK, USA).

I create from an autobiographical narrative, utilizing process as a medium to convey thoughts of craft,

colonialism, and cultural identity. Labor is at the core of my practice since I am a product of it, through my

ancestors who worked the fields in China, to my single mother who works 7 days a week, to the hours I

spend in the studio to keep the inner beasts at bay. As an immigrant woman of color, we are constantly

expected to labor, to “pull ourselves up from the bootstraps” to achieve The American Dream. It is

inherently unattainable as a constant foreigner to Western society despite growing up in it.

With Yellow Fever Agitations, I reiterate my experiences and disgust with being fetishized as an “exotic”

East Asian woman. That surface layer to my existence has dominated my interactions with strangers and

bled into my intimate relationships. I wear a body suit covered with silicone nipples that I proceed to flick

each one individually. With each flick, you hear a flesh-like slap. Despite the aggressive action, the white

gaze resettles upon my othered body. Within my work, I unpack expectations and misrepresentations that

have gone on to perpetuate a cycle of white toxicity and dominance.

Kanitharin Thailamtong is a Thai illustrator and visual designer creating color rich and evocative images that question long established societal roles in Thai and SE Asian culture. She earned her MFA from King Mongkut’s institute of Technology in 2015 and her BFA in in digital arts from Rangsit University in 2012. Kanitharin has exhibited throughout Bangkok as well as in Japan. Her work has been featured in numerous Thai publications, including A day Bulletin Magazine and the Jam Factory Magazine. In 2015 she received the selected prize ‘Taichi Sugiura’ in the UNKOWN ASIA ART EXCHANGE, Japan. Kanitharin currently works in Bangkok as a freelance illustrator.

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