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ACAW 11: Women, Arts, and Activism - Karin Chien, Amita Swadhin, Chang-Jin Lee

This special symposium on arts and activism by contemporary Asian women artists was recorded at the China Institute on March 30, 2011 in collaboration with Asian Women Giving Circle and Ethan Cohen Fine Arts. Moderated by Joan Lebold Cohen, noted art historian and photographer. Introduced by Agnes Hsu, Resident Scholar & Director of Arts and Culture at the China Institute.

As an Asian-American woman film producer working in New York, Karin Chien has had statistics against her. To start with, the trucking industry is more women-friendly than the US film industry--7% of truckers who are women as opposed to 3% of cinematographers. Additionally, a remarkably small proportion of independent films are made by Asian-American (about 25 independent films out of 5000 submitted to Sundance this past year). In this regard, she thinks of her role in film making as a form of activism.

Chang-Jin Lee is a Korean-born conceptual artist who lives in New York City. Her multicultural background and experiences have provoked in her an interest in investigating the diverse cultural and social/political issues in our current era. She presents excerpts of her work, and discusses its social impact.

Amita Swadhin's unconventional approach toward fighting for social justice has made many call her an artist; however, Swadhin thinks of herself primarily as an educator, media-maker, public speaker, writer, and non-profit consultant. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, she has dedicated her life to ending sexual abuse and its societal taboos by co-founding Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors, an interview-based theater project featuring adult survivors of child sexual abuse telling their personal stories on stage.


Dialogues in Asian Contemporary Art


In collaboration with Clocktower Radio (formerly, Leeza Ahmady, independent curator and director of Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), conducts interviews with artists, curators, critics, and experts working both inside and outside of Asia. The program will include Ahmady's reports from around town and will feature select recordings of conversations, talks, and panel discussions across venues in New York City.

Born in Afghanistan and based in New York, Ahmady is an independent art curator, educator, and noted specialist in art from Central Asia. As the director of Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) at Asia Society, Ahmady brings together leading New York City galleries and museums to participate in special exhibitions, receptions, lectures, and performances citywide.

Asian Contemporary Art Week connects leading New York City galleries and museums in a citywide event comprised of public exhibitions, receptions, lectures and performances. The Week focuses on the broad spectrum of artworks produced by Asian contemporary artists working in their home countries and abroad. Asian Contemporary Art Week is organized by Asian Contemporary Art Consortium. Clocktower Radio is a media sponsor for the events and the recordings collected over the years are available in this section of the archive.

Clocktower Radio was launched by MoMA/PS1 in 2004 as the Web's first art radio station. It has been independent since 2009 and is licensed to host content created under PS1 management. Programs produced prior to 2011 may refer to our earlier URLs and station IDs, including,, and Art International Radio. For the complete history of Clocktower Radio, read our Mission & History section.