The Womanifesto Archive traces the multifarious activities of a biennial event, organised by women artists, that began in Bangkok in the mid-nineties. It was part of a wave of installation and performance-based artist-initiated projects—including Asiatopia and Chiang Mai Social Installation—that ushered Thailand, and Southeast Asia more broadly, into a newly globalised contemporary art scene. Initiated by several participants in the 1995 Tradisexion exhibition, including Nitaya Ueareeworakul and Phaptawan Suwannakudt, 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 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, and even a website.
The hundreds of records comprising the collection consist of correspondences and texts, photographs, audiovisual materials, artwork, and documents. The bulk of the material range 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, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, wen yau, Shimada Yoshiko, and Yin Xiuzhen. These are complemented by a selection of press clippings mostly from around 1997 to 2001, video documentation, and artwork and objects relating to Womanifesto. In addition, there are some administrative papers and a cache of materials relating to a retrospective exhibition from 2019.
The archive was assembled over the years by Nitaya Ueareeworkaul and Varsha Nair, supplemented by an additional large cache of photographs and 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.