CFP: Art and Resilience in Response to the Asian Crisis, 1997-1998 (special issue to be submitted to the Art Journal)

This Special Issue solicits papers that discuss national social and political responses to the Asian economic crisis of 1997/1998 in the context of art history and visual culture at large, including art and art history, performance art, film, and media studies. Broadly, it seeks papers on social and political responses to the Asian crisis in the arts and visual culture and its effect on the art market and the creative industry in general.

Deadline: 31 Dec 2021

Between 1997 and 1998, a series of currency devaluations in East and Southeast Asia caused an economic crisis that led to the widespread reversal of billions of dollars in foreign investment across Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea. The financial and economic crisis became a multifaceted event which affected governance at all levels — regional, national, and even global — and produced social and political strife in many of the affected countries. For example, the upheaval in Indonesia weakened the Suharto government which had ruled for thirty years. Malaysia did not experience a change in government at the time, but the crisis resulted in protests, political reshuffling, and the emergence of the Reformasi movement. In South Korea, with elections a month away when the crisis struck, the government was unable to act decisively until the opposition party’s Kim Dae Jung was sworn in as president in February 1998. In Thailand, Prime Minister Yongchaiyudh was forced to resign after eleven months in office.

In response to the resulting social and political events in their countries, artists from East and Southeast Asia produced art works and exhibitions. In Malaysia, for instance, in 1998, the artists’ collective Artis Pro Activ (APA) organized the multidisciplinary arts festival APA Fest as a response to the volatile economic and sociopolitical conditions that erupted there. In Indonesia, an exhibition entitled Reformasi Indonesia! (2000) displayed “protest art” produced by twelve contemporary Indonesian artists, focusing on the turbulent period of reformasi. In Thailand, failed finance companies sold off art masterpieces they had collected before the crisis at reduced prices to help meet massive corporate debts. In South Korea, previously planned large exhibitions were canceled, but new alternative art spaces were established, filled with exhibitions by artists who had returned to their home country from Europe and America due to the crisis.

Papers for this Special Issue may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:
– The study of art and visual culture that expresses the concern with conflicts of national identity and community, cultural knowledge, power, and faith during the precarious times of the 1997–98 Asian crisis
– How the multilayered crisis intensified or accelerated crucial developments in the arts and visual culture, including the larger scope of cultural and visual history
– Artistic reactions to the political, social, and economic impact of the Asian financial crisis in terms of art-making, exhibition, creative production, networking, and even regional solidarity
– How the Asian crisis affected art, visual art, and material culture through the art market and creative industries

Please submit inquiries, 300-word abstracts, and brief CVs to coeditors Sarena Abdullah ( and/or Suzie Kim ( by December 31, 2021.

Authors will be informed of the acceptance of their abstracts by Jan 20, 2022. 
Finished papers are due May 31, 2022, to be e-mailed to the coeditors above. Accepted articles should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words in length, including notes, and prepared according to Art Journal style requirements (see

The coeditors will review all papers before submitting them to Art Journal. Please be aware that Art Journal has the right to reject or accept submitted papers through its double-blind peer review process. For further information about the journal, please visit:

Special Issue Co-editors:
Sarena Abdullah, PhD, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia 
Suzie Kim, PhD, University of Mary Washington, USA