Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Decolonized Eye

Filipino American Art and Performance

2009
Author:

Sarita Echavez See

The Decolonized Eye

Filipino American artists map and contest the United States’ amnesia about its colonization of the Philippines

From the late 1980s to the present, artists of Filipino descent in the United States have produced a challenging and creative movement. In The Decolonized Eye, Sarita Echavez See shows how these artists have engaged with the complex aftermath of U.S. colonialism in the Philippines. By analyzing art, performance, and visual culture, The Decolonized Eye illuminates the unexpected consequences of America’s amnesia over its imperial history.

‘Freud is Filipino.’ This and other remarkable illuminations are rigorously (and gleefully) unpacked in this must-read book that makes a crucial intervention in the intersecting fields of contemporary art and cultural studies—certainly Asian American studies. In her erudite and protean discussions of an important spectrum of contemporary visual and performance artists, Sarita Echavez See painstakingly uncovers and recovers fertile sites of meaning that have otherwise been politically and aesthetically marginalized or overlooked.

Yong Soon Min, University of California, Irvine

From the late 1980s to the present, artists of Filipino descent in the United States have produced a challenging and creative movement. In The Decolonized Eye, Sarita Echavez See shows how these artists have engaged with the complex aftermath of U.S. colonialism in the Philippines.

Focusing on artists working in New York and California, See examines the overlapping artistic and aesthetic practices and concerns of filmmaker Angel Shaw, painter Manuel Ocampo, installation artist Paul Pfeiffer, comedian Rex Navarrete, performance artist Nicky Paraiso, and sculptor Reanne Estrada to explain the reasons for their strangely shadowy presence in American culture and scholarship. Offering an interpretation of their creations that accounts for their queer, decolonizing strategies of camp, mimesis, and humor, See reveals the conditions of possibility that constitute this contemporary archive.

By analyzing art, performance, and visual culture, The Decolonized Eye illuminates the unexpected consequences of America’s amnesia over its imperial history.

The Decolonized Eye

Sarita Echavez See is associate professor of Asian American studies at the University of California, Davis.

The Decolonized Eye

‘Freud is Filipino.’ This and other remarkable illuminations are rigorously (and gleefully) unpacked in this must-read book that makes a crucial intervention in the intersecting fields of contemporary art and cultural studies—certainly Asian American studies. In her erudite and protean discussions of an important spectrum of contemporary visual and performance artists, Sarita Echavez See painstakingly uncovers and recovers fertile sites of meaning that have otherwise been politically and aesthetically marginalized or overlooked.

Yong Soon Min, University of California, Irvine

Sarita See’s excellent new book, The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance, is one of the few works that stands at the intersection of Filipino American studies and cultural studies, carefully analyzing how the aesthetic choices of a select group of primarily U.S.-based visual and performing artists of Philippine heritage are linked to the historical absurdities of colonialism.

Journal of Asian American Studies

This work is remarkable not only for the elegance of its readings; along the way, See poses a serious challenge to Asian American studies, whose focus on a history of exclusion has blinded it to a politics of forced inclusion—one which has the potential to make crucial links across minority studies.

American Literature

A critique unique in its interweaving of insights from psychoanalysis and postcolonial studies with analyses of Filipino American art and performance.

MELUS

See performs a perceptive and persuasive reading of the works of the selected artists. She also convincingly illuminates the contours and points of convergence in the praxis of artists representing diverse media.

Interventions

The book is definitely an eye-opener.

Years Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

See’s text offers a groundbreaking analysis of the multifaceted and innovative means through which contemporary Filipino American artists reverse dominant American discourses of immigrant assimilation and of America’s inherent benevolence and racial democracy.

Middle Ground Journal