This month Troubling Borders, an anthology of Southeast Asian diasporic women’s art and literature, received the Bronze Book Award from the Association of Borderland Studies. Julie has photography, film, and critical memoir essay included in this groundbreaking hardcover volume from University of Washington Press.
Julie co-directed and emceed reGenerating Champa: Transitioning Identity From Past to Future, the first-ever English-language conference featuring the “next generation” of Cham youth in the US. Held at UC Davis with the support of several organizations and departments, the conference invited many Cham scholars, activists, and artists for panel discussions and presentations on the reGeneration of Champa.
Julie also spoke on the morning panel that centered activism and social justice, where she addressed her two trips to the UN in Geneva to advocate for improved human rights for the Cham in Việt Nam.
San Francisco, California
Julie was chosen to succeed Trinh Mai as DVAN’s artist in residence at Intersection For The Arts in San Francisco. The honor included an exhibit titled Split/Infinite: Việt Nam Documentaries (May 11-July 1), as well as an opening reception and a screening of her film-in-progress Second Burial on May 20.
Julie is grateful to the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network for its inclusive support of artists of Vietnamese descent, even those from the Cham community, like herself.
Julie was a co-organizer for this event featuring Daniel Ellsberg, who gave the keynote address on “The Silence of the Doves.” The famous whistleblower who leaked the materials that became known as The Pentagon Papers spoke about those leaders who opposed the war but chose instead to “swallow the whistle.” His talk was followed by a film Screening of Sir! No Sir! (David Zeiger, 2005), a powerful documentary film about the GI anti-war movement that altered the course of history. After the screening, resisters Mike Wong and Keith Mather joined Ellsberg in a panel discussion about whistleblowing and resistance.
This event was co-organized by Susan Schweik, Paul Cox, and Jeanne Friedman, with sponsorship from Veterans For Peace Chapter 69. It was part of VFP’s Full Disclosure Campaign which seeks to tell the truth about the war in Việt Nam, in light of the Pentagon’s current whitewashing campaign of revisionist history.
Julie was invited to screen her documentary-in-progress, Second Burial, during the event After 40 Years, Filmmakers Reflect on the 40th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center in downtown Oakland’s Chinatown.
After the screening of women filmmakers, Ina Adele Ray and Doan Hoang joined Julie onstage for a Q&A with the audience. (Unfortunately Kim Spurlock could not be in attendance, but she also screened a film.) Each woman had presented documentary films with a strong emphasis upon family history, and audience questions lingered upon the intersections of memory and representation.
That week marked the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, the cataclysmic event that launched large-scale refugee migrations from Việt Nam to the US. Julie’s mother and father evacuated Saigon on that day, so the anniversary holds a special significance for her. She was honored to participate in this event alongside such talented filmmakers.
Rabbit Fool Press
Julie’s critical memoir essay “The Gift Horse of War,” originally an Editor’s Choice at NAILED magazine, was re-released in the new collection Completely Mixed Up—Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art, edited by Brandy Lien Worrall-Soriano.
An anthology fifteen years in the making, the project started in 2000, with a trilogy of 700 handmade chapbooks. Over the years, the project has been presented all throughout North America, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, and New York. Seventy contributors offer over 150 works of visual art, writing, photography, and performance in this groundbreaking anthology, displaying creative expressions of what it means to be mixed race/mixed heritage Asian American and Canadian.
San Francisco, California
As part of San Francisco’s Litquake Festival’s celebrated Lit Crawl, Julie read a trilogy of poems, alongside works by Aimee Phan, Anh Thang Dao, Andrew Lam, Bich Minh Nguyen, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, and Truong Tran. The reading was organized by novelist Aimee Phan and the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network.
Here Julie reads The Rescue and Banquet of Consequences, memoir poems about the impact of war upon her family. The Rescue is about her parents’ evacuation from Sài Gòn in April 1975 and their differing perceptions of heroism in relation to that cataclysmic event. Banquet of Consequences is about Julie’s mother’s relationships with three husbands, all military men connected to the war in Việt Nam. The poem centers war’s fraught repercussions upon the marriage between a Cham-French woman from Việt Nam, Julie’s mother, and her US Army veteran husband, Julie’s stepfather.
San Francisco, California
Julie solo performed “Terra Nullius” in Nomy Lamm’s 515 Clues: A Kabbalistic Collabaret, as part of the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco.
She also acted in the opening scene as a broken-handed and disaffected drummer from an Olympia band, Total Recluse.
San Francisco, California
In May 2014, Julie was the discussion moderator after the 6pm performance of Trở Về Nước: Between Home and Memory. Held at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, Trở Về Nước was a part of the 17th Annual United States of Asian America Festival. This performance was presented by Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) and San Francisco Arts Commission.
Bay Area, California
Julie was invited as a featured Spotlight Photographer in the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s project A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America. In affiliation with the project, the Smithsonian APA Center heavily circulated her 1999 black-and-white portrait of her maternal Chǎm aunts and uncle in Việt Nam. With other invited photographers for the project, Julie also gave a photography workshop on April 19, 2014, at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.
Julie’s portfolio for the project, photographed entirely on May 10, 2014, included a mother and her children at a regional botanic preserve in Oakland, two friends at the Sutro Baths in San Francisco, and self-portraiture in Berkeley. Her photo essay from that day is featured on the Smithsonian’s website for the project.
University of Washington Press
Julie published three photographs, one poem, and one memoir essay in the first anthology to exclusively feature the art and literature of Southeast Asian women in the diaspora. Edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam B. Lam, and Kathy L. Nguyen, Troubling Borders showcases creative writing and visual artworks by sixty-one women of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Cham, Hmong, Lao, Thai, and Filipino ancestry. The collection features compelling storytelling that troubles the borders of categorization and reflects the multilayered experience of Southeast Asian women.
Troubling Borders is available from University of Washington Press or a nearby independent bookseller.
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
In affiliation with the International Office of Champa, Julie was a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Forum on Minority Issues, “Beyond freedom of religion or belief: Guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities.” Her delegation addressed religious freedoms for the Chǎm in Việt Nam. She’d previously attended the forum as a delegate in 2011, when she gave IOC’s oral statement on Guaranteeing the rights of Chǎm women in Việt Nam.
CounterPULSE, San Francisco, CA
Julie collaborated with UK actor Lucy Ellinson in the performance of Our Exquisite Corpse, in the microfestival Forest Fringe SF, in partnership with CounterPULSE and the University of Chichester. Julie also edited the video installation to accompany their duo performance.
SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA
This large group arts exhibition included Julie’s short film Spoils as part of the experimental film/video triptych She who has no master, a collaboration with multimedia artists Isabelle Thuy Pelaud and Dao Strom. The exhibit and its affiliated events were sponsored by Asian American Woman Artists Association and Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center.
Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to ensuring the visibility and documentation of Asian American women in the arts. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational programs, they offer thought-provoking perspectives that challenge societal assumptions and promote dialogue.
Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) supports and produces multi-disciplinary art reflective of the unique experiences of Asian Pacific Islanders living in the United States. underCurrents is featured as part of Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s (APICC) 16th Annual United States of Asian America Festival at SOMArts Cultural Center.
UC Irvine, Irvine, CA
Julie’s short experimental film Spoils, included in the triptych She who has no master, was part of this year’s Vietnamese International Film Festival.
The raw footage for Spoils was originally shot in 2000 through Mediaworks at Evergreen. Julie chose to edit Spoils in 2012 specifically for this triptych collaboration with Isabelle Thuy Pelaud and Dao Strom, who each included their own short experimental films in their three-fold meditation on war, memory, and unwarranted masters.
The Wild Project, East Village, New York City, NY
On January 23rd, Julie’s 2009 poem Banquet of Consequences was included the annual Poetic License Festival, held at The Wild Project, East Village, NYC. This poem was part of a play conceived and directed by Natalia Duong (co-presented with Project Agent Orange) that featured writing by Angie Chau, Tom Deedy, Janis Butler Holm, Lan Ngo, John Phalen, Alice Shapiro, Chris Soucy, julie thi underhill and Andrew Pham. This theater piece was developed around the excavation of memories of war, family, grief, anger, and love, long interred by women of the Vietnamese diaspora.
Sweeney Gallery, UC Riverside, Riverside, CA
On October 6, Julie attended the UCR Sweeney Art Gallery’s closing reception for the Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora exhibit, where she read her memoir essay and poetry, and where her black-and-white photography was on display in the exhibit. The following day Julie participated in the colloquium, where the artists discussed issues of community, craft, and artistic reception.
Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora showcases writings and visual works by women of Cambodian, Laotian, Filipino, Cham, and Vietnamese descent, who create art that bear witness to the legacies of displacement and the hauntings of empire that linger to this day. The exhibition features paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, and sculptures by seven international, contemporary artists: Anida Yoeu Ali, Reanne Estrada, Lin+Lam, Ann Phong, Nalyne Lunati, Hong-An Truong, and Julie Thi Underhill. The writers who read at the reception include Leakhena Leng, Karen Llagas and Julie Thi Underhill.
Forming an incredibly diverse group, these women writers and artists point to the ruptures caused by colonization, war, globalization, and militarization. Their stories and artwork are vital and varied, and together they provide a sharp contrast to normative narratives and ideologies that have been constructed in the West and the nation-states of Southeast Asia, particularly in the aftermath of the Cold War.
This multi-media art exhibition and colloquium also previews the contents and celebrates the upcoming publication of the first anthology by and about Southeast Asian women in the diaspora. Four years in the making, Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora is edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam B. Lam and Kathy Nguyen.
By making these works visible to alarge public and pushing the boundaries of literature and art, the editors highlight the global connections that draw many disparate groups of women together. The art exhibit and colloquium form one part of these larger efforts to promote the works of Southeast Asian women.
Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora is organized by UCR Sweeney Art Gallery, sponsored by the Chancellor’s Strategic Investment Funds at UCR, co-sponsored by UCR’s Department of Media and Cultural Studies, and curated by Lan Duong, associate professor, Media & Cultural Studies Department, University of California, Riverside, and Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, associate professor, Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University.
California College of the Arts, Writer’s Studio, San Francisco, CA
This two-person exhibit included a retrospective of Julie’s first ten years as a photographer. She exhibited gelatin silver prints of 35mm portraits and landscapes from the United States, Việt Nam, Malawi, and México. Her artist’s talk addressed her inspirations and evolution as a photographer.
Since 2005, this was her third collaborative exhibit with artist, writer, and curator Viet Le.
The exhibit was a holiday fundraiser for DVAN, who received all proceeds from sales.
In 2005, Julie was awarded a professional development grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland, Oregon, towards the building of her first website.
She focused primarily on her black-and-white documentary portraiture. She designed her first website with fifty-six photographs arranged in geographically specific galleries, and launched in 2006 with the coding help of a webdesigner.
Julie co-directed this annual film festival held in the historic Capitol Theater in Olympia, WA. Her responsibilities included programming, marketing, promotions, public relations, copywriting, and hospitality for guest filmmakers.
For a complete list of events, visit BIO/C.V.