The Womanifesto Archive traces the multifarious activities of a biennial event organised by women artists that began in Bangkok in the mid-nineties, part of a wave of installation and performance-based artist-initiated projects, including Asiatopia and Chiang Mai Social Installation, that heralded the arrival of Thailand, and Southeast Asia more broadly, on a newly globalised contemporary art scene. Initiated by several participants in the 1995 Tradisexion exhibition, Nitaya Ueareeworakul and Phaptawan Suwannakudt among them, Womanifesto distinguished itself by its focus on women artists and themes related to women’s everyday lives. Over its decade of activity, the event intersected with multiple generations of female and male artists from across Asia and beyond, and assumed many forms, including exhibitions, a workshop and residency at a farm in rural Thailand, an artist publication, even a website.
The hundreds of records comprising the Archive consist of correspondence and texts, photographs, audiovisual materials, artwork, and other documents. The bulk of the material range in date from 1997, when Nitaya Ueareeworakul and Varsha Nair organised the first exhibition, through 2008, the date of the residency programme. In particular, the thousands of photographs trace the participation of an international roster of artists, including Arahmaiani, Amanda Heng, Tari Ito, Sanja Iveković, Mella Jaarsma, Sriwan Janehuttakarnkit, Pinaree Sanpitak, Tejal Shah, Yoshiko Shimada, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, wen yau, and Yin Xiuzhen, many of whom are now well-known artists in their own right. These are complemented by a selection of press clippings, mostly clustered around 1997-2001, video documentation, and artwork and objects that Womanifesto included as part of the archive. In addition, there are also some administrative papers, and a cache of materials relating to a retrospective exhibition from 2019.
The archive was assembled over the years by Ueareeworkaul and Nair, and supplemented by an additional large cache of photographs, as well as a few other documents, supplied by Phaptawan Suwannakudt in 2020. The archive was digitised and prepared for access by John Tain, Ali Wong, and Garfield Chow, in the Research team, and reviewed and approved by Elaine Lin and Gabrielle Chan in Collections. Intern Lora Fong provided assistance. The online archive project was made possible through the generous support of the Women in Art History Fund: Jonathan Cheung, Geoffrey Chuang, Luke Fehon, Shirazeh Houshiary / Lisson Gallery, Margie Lau, Dee Poon, and Claudine Ying.