HOUSTON – In this presentation complementing the exhibition Site Lines: Artists Working in Texas, Asia Society Texas Center welcomes artists Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba and Prince Varughese Thomas, who will discuss their works in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery. Through video, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba emphasizes the effect that individual imagination has on the accrued power and histories of specific places. With his installations, Prince Varughese Thomas focuses on the impacts of geopolitical events on particular communities and the fraught nature of human existence in larger global systems.
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Tokyo to a Vietnamese father and a Japanese mother. Growing up and being educated in Japan and the U.S., he earned his BFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 1992 and then his MFA in the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1994. Nguyen-Hatsushiba, after 18 years of working in Vietnam, is now residing and creating artworks in Houston.
In 2001, his first underwater film project, Memorial Project Nha Trang, Vietnam: Towards the Complex – For the Courageous, the Curious and the Cowards was shown at the 1st Yokohama Triennial. He was then commissioned to create a series of underwater films, including a memorial for Minamata disease patients and a multinational history based in 1972 Okinawa (Japan, Vietnam, and USA).
His works are often generated from multiple landscapes of thoughts combining unlikely, sometimes surprising mixtures into existing contexts of local history and issues. In his most recent film, The Master and the Slave: Inujima Monogatari filmed at Inujima island in Setouchi, Japan, he attempts to revive Inujima’s history through Japan’s national sport of baseball, played inside the last stone quarry of the island. A batter and a pitcher confront each other, but with a romantic endeavor of hitting the stones out from the smaller island to the mainland of Japan.
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba has exhibited in numerous international triennials and biennales. One can also find his works in the public collections of institutions such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.
Prince Varughese Thomas is an Indian immigrant, born in Kuwait, partly raised in India, and naturalized in the United States. His studio practice is informed by his ethnicity and facing racial prejudice throughout his life. From the Iran Hostage crisis in the 70s, to aggressions in Libya in the 80s, to the first Gulf War in the 90s, and then 9/11, each decade of his life has been marked with prejudice that has been projected on to him by the dominant culture. This experience through his formative years to adulthood has directly affected how he looks at society with open eyes and as he attempts to investigate places that he finds worthy of critique, exploration, and making art. With an educational background and degrees in both Psychology and Art, Thomas investigates and deconstructs complex issues from the interstices in personally expressive ways that humanize his subjects while incorporating a variety of photographic, video, drawing, and installation techniques into his artwork.
A winner of the Time-Based Media in Art Prize 7 and a Texas Biennial Artist, Thomas has been invited to exhibit his work and be a visiting artist, lecturer, panelist, and workshop instructor at numerous institutions including Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon; the Station Museum of Contemporary Art; the Atlanta Contemporary; the Light Factory, Charlotte; and the Queens Museum. Thomas’ work has been exhibited in over 200 solo and group exhibitions.
His work is represented in various public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Thomas received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington, and M.F.A. from the University of Houston. He is currently a Professor of Art at Lamar University.
Prince Varughese Thomas lives and works in Houston, Texas.
The exhibition runs through August 18, 2019, and is open Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.