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Aperture Conversations: Kinship and the Camera

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Cantor Arts Center's Asian American Art Initiative at Stanford University, in collaboration with Aperture, is pleased to present a virtual roundtable discussion investigating themes of identity and familial presence within Aperture magazine’s most recent issue, “Being & Becoming: Asian in America.”

The conversation will include guest editor Stephanie Hueon Tung, professor Marci Kwon, and artists Leonard Suryajaya, and Pao Houa Her.

What does it mean to be Asian American? The term was coined in 1968 as a political, not ethnic, coalition spurred in part by student activism in California in response to the civil rights movement and protests against the Vietnam War. It now covers incredible diversity in geographic origins, class, language, culture, religions, and historical experience. 

Guest edited by curator Stephanie Hueon Tung, this issue examines how photography helps us understand the historical and contemporary contours of an evolving Asian American identity and its political potential. 

Cantor Arts Center’s Asian American Art Initiative is dedicated to the collection, preservation, research, and public presentation of Asian American/diaspora artists and makers.

This virtual program is free and open to all. RSVP on Eventbrite to receive a Zoom link.

Live captioning provided by Zoom. If you need a disability-related accommodation, please contact We ask that requests be made at least one week in advance of the event date.

Stephanie Hueon Tung is the Byrne Family Curator of Photography at the Peabody Essex Museum. She leads the interpretation and presentation of the museum’s growing photography collection, which spans the 19th century through today. A specialist in the history of photography of China, her research focuses on transnational art exchanges, global modernism, translation studies, and notions of artistic labor. She has published widely on photography and contemporary art from China, as a contributor to Aperture and the Trans-Asia Photography Review and contributing author to The Chinese Photobook (Aperture, 2015) and Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World (Guggenheim, 2017). Her most recent book, Ai Weiwei: Beijing 1993-2003 (MIT Press, 2019), was co-authored with Ai Weiwei and John Tancock and serves as a continuation of Ai Weiwei: New York 1983-1993, for which she also served as lead researcher.

Marci Kwon is Assistant Professor of Art History at Stanford University, and co-director of the Cantor Art Center's Asian American Art Initiative. She is the author of Enchantments: Joseph Cornell and American Modernism (Princeton, 2021), and co-editor of the online Martin Wong Catalogue Raisonné. Kwon is presently working on a book-length project about artists in post-Earthquake San Francisco Chinatown.

Leonard Suryajaya (b. 1988, Chicago, IL) is a Chinese-Indonesian artist exploring the boundaries of intimacy, community, and family. He uses photography, video, performance, and installation to show how the everyday is layered with histories, meanings, and potential. He received his BA in Theater Arts and BFA from California State University in 2013. He earned his MFA in 2015 from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting in Sculpture in 2017. Surayaja has exhibited work at the Art Institute Chicago, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Aperture Gallery, Barney Savage Gallery, and other institutions around the world.

Pao Houa Her (b. 1982, Laos) is a Hmong American artist who works within multiple genres and photography and whose practice engages primarily with legacies and potentials of landscape, portraiture, and documentary photographic traditions and aesthetics, creating works that examine identity, longing, and belonging in Hmong diasporic communities. Her received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and her MFA from Yale University.

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