The 1960s mark an important decade in the history of Southeast Asia as political imperatives necessitated the formation of ASEAN. The brief for the exhibition is simple: put together an exhibition reflecting upon half a century of Southeast Asian and ASEAN history. Presented in three thematic sections, the exhibition gathers 20th century artworks spanning the formative decade of the 1960s to the politically charged 90s era and into the present by artists and artisans from all the member countries of ASEAN. The modern artworks on exhibition are drawn from both the collection of the ASEAN Secretariat and various private collections in the region, marking a meaningful dovetail of efforts to cultural and historical awareness of the Southeast Asian region.

Art is a mirror we hold up to understand our histories and ourselves. The exhibition examines the vast diversities in life across the region, not only in terms of language and culture, but also economically and politically. To better reflect upon the content and the particular visual language of these artists, we invited the emerging Jogjakarta-based contemporary visual artist Hendra ‘Blankon’ Priyadhani to participate in the exhibition. Hendra Priyadhani’s body of assemblage sculptures is some of the most original and inventive sculptural works in Indonesian contemporary art, and symbolizes the notion of diversity that characterizes Southeast Asia and ASEAN.