For Immediate Release:
Carey Clark, Visual Arts Director
940 Garrison Avenue
Bronx , NY 10474
Join us Friday November 2, 2012 at 7:00pm at THE POINT CDC for a multimedia exhibition, featuring video interviews, found and appropriated footage, photographs, map, and a recipe that will be shared along side food, and live music performances. OCEANS / GOLDEN TEAR DROP (THONG YOD) uses personal histories and collective memories on a journey from the past to the present in cultural exchanges.
This unusual collaboration between Hatuey Ramos Fermín, Bronx-based artist from Puerto Rico, and Arin Rungjang, from Bangkok, Thailand will be an evening that reveals their common roots, only discovered in their intense collaboration in the last three weeks, where they discovered shared ground in the sugar trade of the 19th century and more.
This work is sponsored by CEC ArtsLink and hosted by THE POINT. Oceans/Golden Teardrop(Thong Yod) continues One Big City, a series of collaborative artistic events produced by CEC ArtsLink in partnership with leading cultural institutions to engage New York’s diaspora communities through international arts initiatives.
Thong Yod is a dessert made of eggs and sugar that originated in Portugal and introduced 350 years ago to Thailand, where it was adopted and transformed by local traditions. This dessert is made for special occasions and social gatherings such as weddings.
Bomba originated when West African slaves were brought to Puerto Rico to work on sugarcane plantations. They used music, dance and singing to show pride, celebrate religious ceremonies, and to organize politically, as well as spreading local events through “newspaper songs”.
What are the relationships between Thong Yod, Bomba and the Hunts Point neighborhood? The collaboration between Bronx based artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and Thai artist Arin Rungjang articulates the metaphorical and historic bridges between sugar, colonization, and local resistance.
Thong Yod (Golden Tear Drop) is an old traditional Thai dessert dated back 350 years ago. It was created by Maria Guyomar who was a Catholic woman of mixed Japanese-Portuguese-Bengali ancestry. Her mother was a Japanese, named Ursula Yamada, whose family had emigrated to Thailand following the repression of Christianity in Japan.Her father Fanik Guyomar (also Phanik Guimar), from the Portuguese colony of Goa, was a Christian of mixed Japanese and Bengali descent.
In 1682, Maria married Phaulkon, soon after he abandoned Anglicanism for Catholicism. They lived a life of affluence as Phaulkon rose to become highly influential at the Siamese court of king Narai.
During the period of rapprochement between France and the Siamese court Maria Guyomar de Pinha, together with her husband Phaulkon, was promised French protection by being ennobled a countess of France. During the 1688 Siamese revolution, after the assassination of her husband, Maria took refuge with the French troops in Bangkok, but the Commander of the French fort General Desfarges returned her to the Siamese under pressure from the new ruler Petracha on October 18. Despite the promises that had been made regarding her safety, she was condemned to perpetual slavery in the kitchens of Petracha. Maria remained prisoner until the death of Petracha in 1703, but became the head of the royal kitchen staff.
One of her sons, George became a minor official at the Siamese court. Her second son, Constantin, is known to have been put in charge by king Borommakot (1733–1758) of building a German organ for the king. According to French missionary sources he was called Racha Mantri and was at the same time a supervisor of the Christians in Ayutthaya and the official in charge of the royal storehouses.
In her later life, Maria, together with her daughter-in-law Louisa Passagna (widow of Constantin), continued to sue the French East India Company to recoup money which her husband Phaulkon had lent to the company. She was vindicated in 1717 through a decree from the Council of State in France, which provided her with a maintenance allowance.
Maria Guyomar is famous for introducing new dessert recipes in Thai food at the Ayutthaya court, based on Portuguese culinary influence, especially egg yolk-based sweets such as foi thong (“golden threads”), thong yod (“golden tear drop”) and sangkhaya.
Hatuey Ramos Fermín was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and grew up in Puerto Rico. He is an educator, artist and curator who uses photography, video, installation, graphics, performance, interventions, maps, audio, collaborations, and social and curatorial practices to creatively investigate issues related to urban spaces. He is part of meta local collaborative.
Arin Rungjang studied graphic arts at Silpakorn University, Bangkok and École Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His video and site-specific installations explore daily life and experience, such as memory, living space, history of family and individuals, and migration. Rungjang is one of the co-founders of an independent art initiative in Bangkok called As Yet Unnamed, an alternative platform which holds exhibitions, discussions and other events on contemporary art.
CEC ArtsLink promotes international communication and understanding through collaborative, innovative arts projects for mutual benefit. We support and produce programs that encourage the exchange of visual and performing artists and cultural managers in the United States and 37 countries and regions overseas. As an international organization, we believe that the arts are a society’s most deliberate and complex means of communication and that the work of artists and arts administrators can help nations overcome long histories of reciprocal distrust, insularity and conflict.
Our organization was founded in 1962 to enable citizens of the United States and the Soviet Union to accomplish what their governments would not do - open doors, share ideas and build mutual trust. Our lasting partnerships abroad enable us to build and broaden our international reach, as today’s transformed and complex world makes citizen diplomacy more urgently necessary than ever.
THE POINT Community Development Corporation is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. We work with our neighbors to celebrate the life and art of our community, an area traditionally defined solely in terms of its poverty, crime rate, poor schools and substandard housing. We believe the area’s residents, their talents and aspirations, are THE POINT’s greatest assets.
THE POINT offers a multi-faceted approach to asset-based community development. It’s programming falls within three main headings - Youth Development, Arts and Culture and Community Development - all aimed at the comprehensive revitalization of Hunts Point.
This work is made possible through CEC ArtsLink and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Fund and The Trust for Mutual Understanding.