In Stranger Lands: Cocoa’s Journeys to Asia

March 2024 – August 2024

A touring exhibition about Asian Cocoa
Curated by Caroline Ha Thuc

 

EMASI Nam Long (D.7) – Wednesday & Friday |
10:00AM – 04:00PM
EMASI Van Phuc (Thu Duc) – Tuesday & Thursday |
10:00AM – 04:00PM

Nguyen Art Foundation (NAF) proudly presents In Stranger Lands: Cocoa’s Journeys To Asia – a two-part exhibition curated by Caroline Ha Thuc, featuring 17 newly commissioned artworks by established artists working across Asia, including Ravi Agarwal (India), Timoteus Anggawan Kusno (Indonesia), Antariksa (Indonesia), Agung Firmanto Budiharto (Indonesia), Bui Cong Khanh (Vietnam), Cian Dayrit (Philippines), Cyril Delettre (Hong Kong), Veronica Emery (Hong Kong), Jiandyn Collective (Thailand), Jason Lim (Singapore), Pan Lu and Bo Wang (Hong Kong/Netherlands), Arin Rungjang (Thailand), Erika Tan (Singapore), Rodel Tapaya (Philippines), Ting Chaong-Wen (Taiwan), Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore) and Zheng Mahler (Hong Kong). The exhibition will take place simultaneously across the campuses of EMASI Nam Long (District 7) and EMASI Van Phuc (Thu Duc City) from March to August 2024. 

For many of us, the taste of chocolate evokes childhood memories, sweetness, and the warmth of family. In Asia, chocolates were often brought back from visits to faraway countries and received as gifts with excitement and pleasure. 

Today, chocolate is no longer considered an “exotic” luxury item. In addition to Western brands, many Asian countries have developed their own chocolate industries, incorporating flavors and ingredients that resonate with Asian palates. However, what lies behind the chocolate bars that we see daily on supermarket shelves remains, for many, unknown territory. 

Is cocoa produced in Asia? Why has chocolate been absent for so long from the Asian culinary landscape, and can local producers meet today’s growing demand? Who are the farmers cultivating cocoa in the region, and what are the challenges they face when asked to scale up production in a sustainable way? 

Conceived as a collective and creative research project, this exhibition invites us to delve into these issues, aiming to shed light on the many untold stories of Asian cocoa and chocolate through an array of embodied, emotional, imaginative, and conceptual artistic expressions. From the cocoa tree’s unique characteristics and its colonial history to the ecological challenges surrounding its current production and the intricate processes involved in turning beans into chocolate, the artistic diversity showcased in this exhibition unveils the extensive breadth, potential, and complexity of what is often perceived merely as a foreign delicacy. 

For more reading materials, information on the project and future iterations of the exhibition, please visit:
https://www.theasiancocoaproject.com/  

 

Cocoa Logos