Sunny Leerasanthanah

SELECTED PROJECTS:
    Wuthichai (Exit Interview)
    Mom’s Magnets
    Homes Against Tides
    Towards Tenderness
    Carry Me Home
    Handwriting Superstition Workshop
    We Are Here Book Commission
  
PHOTO PORTRAITS
PHOTO JOURNAL
VIDEO & FILM
WRITING

ABOUT / CV / CONTACT
PRESS

︎ News ︎

︎︎︎2023 Aug | Solo exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, WI

︎︎︎2022 July | Artist-in-Residence at the 2022 Fire Island Artist Residency

︎︎︎2022 May-July | Works available at Queer | Art’s Digital Book & Print Fair ︎

︎︎︎2021 July | Awarded the Queens Council on the Arts’ 2021 New Work Grant for Wuthichai (Exit Interview)




sunnyleeras@gmail.com
*Contact for artist CV or portfolio of photography commissions



Bio:

Sunny Leerasanthanah (she/her, they/them) 
b. 1994 Bangkok, Thailand
Lives in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Sunny’s work has spanned video, photography, multimedia installation, and photo books. Through these forms, she has reflected on placemaking, cultural heritage, family history, immigration, identity, and memory.

She was most recently an Artist-in-Residence at the Fire Island Artist Residency 2022, during which she developed new work around invasive species. In 2021 she exhibited the video installation, Wuthichai (Exit Interview), in SculptureCenter’s In Practice show, You may go, but this will bring you back. In this piece Thai-speaking actors step into the role of Sunny’s deceased father to improvise answers to her questions. The work was awarded the Queens Council on the Arts 2021 New Work Grant.

In other work, she documented her mother’s collection of worldly fridge magnets in a self-published risograph book that debuted at Bangkok Art Book Fair 2020, titled Mom’s Magnets (2020). In 2021, she also had 40+ photographic portraits of American artists and curators published in the book We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World by Jasmin Hernandez (2021). Along with the portraits are her images of artist studios and artwork.

Sunny received a MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University, and a BFA in Film, Photography & Visual Arts from Ithaca College with minors in Art History and English.






Wuthichai (Exit Interview)

Wuthichai (Exit Interview)

2021
Two-channel HD video installation with mixed media including watch, journals, video camcorder and tape, medicine bag, pills, pill splitter, incentive spirometer, wallet, ID cards, glasses and case, shoes, shirts, pants, shorts, hangers. Dimensions variable.
Video portion is 48 min on loop.

Commissioned by SculptureCenter; exhibited at SculptureCenter’s 2021 In Practice show, You may go, but this will bring you back (March-August 2021)

Awarded the 2021 Queens Council on the Arts’ New Work Grant.

INSTALLATION EXCERPT: vimeo.com/535311796
EXHIBITION CATALOG: Link
EXHIBITION PRESS RELEASE: Link 

Description: Thai-speaking actors, who were casted via online community forums for Thai immigrants in New York City, role-play and improvise dialogue as Sunny’s deceased father.





Above: Video installation images
Towards Tenderness


Towards Tenderness

2017
Exhibition of prints and text

Description: A two-person exhibition that took place at Lubov gallery and was organized and displayed works by Sunny Leerasanthanah and David Lurvey.



Above: Pamphlet design by Stephen Lurvey





Above: Install shots by David Lurvey

Above: My Mother Doesn’t Know I Think Her Softness Is Her Strength
Print by Sunny Leerasanthanah 


PHOTO PORTRAITS




Adam

Wedding Self-Portraits with Josie

Beryl

Moises

Tyla

Pipp

Adam

Josie

Win

Firelei

Pipp

Aniebiet

Adam

Maxie

Vanilla


Carry Me Home



Carry Me Home

2016-ongoing
Photo series
Exhibited at Myers Media Gallery, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2019

Description: A series of images taken during Sunny’s travels home to Thailand, ruminating on the feeling of being ready to constantly depart.






Above: Exhibition poster

WORKSHOP


Untitled workshop originally conducted during Rehearsal Residency in 2018.

Description: On November 10, 2018, Sunny led a storytelling-based workshop about auspicious signatures and superstition, based on her Thai-Chinese family lineage and stories passed down from her mother.
During the interactive workshop, participants drafted their “lucky” signatures.

Participants’ feedback:






Workshop Notes:

1 The workshop had a performative aspect which involved me weaving in a personal narrative through storytelling.

The personal narrative was based on things my mother taught me about how to practice handwriting with “good fortune”. The way you shape certain letters can indicate “leakage” of wealth, or the way you strike through your name can mean cursing youself to bad luck. 


2

The purpose of storytelling was to mirror the act of passing superstition by word of mouth, something I experienced first-hand growing up. My mother made me practice writing my signature so that it would be “lucky”.














Rehearsal Residency images








We Are Here Book Photography

We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World (2021) by Jasmin Hernandez; Published by Abrams Books


Principal Photography (artist portraits, studio and art work photography) by Sunny Leerasanthanah; additional photography by Jasmine Durhal

Purchase available at Abrams Books

Sample book spreads below:







Mom’s Magnets



Mom’s Magnets

2020
Self-published risograph book
5.85 x 8.25 in
Printed by Witti Studio, Bangkok, Thailand
Featured at Bangkok Art Book Fair 2020

Edition of 100


Photo courtesy Miriam Gallery

PURCHASE IN USA
︎︎︎ Printed Matter online + Chelsea location ︎
︎︎︎ Miriam Gallery online + gallery ︎
︎︎︎ Citizen Editions online ︎


PURCHASE IN THAILAND
︎︎︎ Happening Shop online + Bangkok Arts and Culture Center location + Dadfa La Salle location ︎







Description: Mom’s Magnets is Leerasanthanah’s typological documentation of her mother’s collection of magnets from worldly destinations. The souvenir magnet is exemplary of reducing culture, place, people, heritage, and politics to commodified kitsch. Patterns reveal the homogenous representations of marketable icons. Playful juxtapositions force a relationship between two seemingly unrelated symbols, like the Egyptian hieroglyph tablet and Britain’s telephone booth. Ultimately, the book contemplates the attempt to embody and possess place and time—a subject that resonates with Leerasanthanah’s past work.






PHOTOBOOK



Homes Against Tides


2018
Self-published photobook
Saddle-stitched, color laser print on matte paper
8.25 x 10.75 in

Edition of 10 

Description: The photobook features a series of images taken in the south of Thailand, studying the delicate patterns produced by Indo-Pacific sand bubbler crabs as they dig for food and discard sand in mesmerizing patterns. The book dwells on the persistent, Sisyphean cycle of the crabs, whose evidence of a day’s work is washed away at high tide daily.




WRITING


An Interview with Artist Gwen Shockey for Hyperallergic (2019)

︎ Link to article



VIDEO INSTALLATIONS & FILM




Wuthichai (Exit Interview)
2021
48 min Two-channel HD video installation with mixed media including watch, journals, video camcorder and tape, medicine bag, pills, pill splitter, incentive spirometer, wallet, ID cards, glasses and case, shoes, shirts, pants, shorts, hangers. Dimensions variable.

Commissioned by SculptureCenter; exhibited at SculptureCenter’s 2021 In Practice show, You may go, but this will bring you back.
Awarded the 2021 Queens Council on the Arts’ New Work Grant.

INSTALLATION EXCERPT: vimeo.com/535311796
SCULPTURECENTER EXHIBITION CATALOG: Link to PDF

Description: Thai-speaking actors, who were casted via online community forums for Thai immigrants in New York City, role-play and improvise dialogue as Sunny’s deceased father. 




Strange Fear & Ecstasy

2016
Video installation, 5:22 min on loop
Footage credit: Cellphone video clips of drag performer Aaron Thornton (Vanilla Diamond) at Virginia Beach in 2015;
Archival footage by filmmaker Nelson Sullivan (1948-1989).


INSTALLATION PREVIEW: vimeo.com/225476297









Surface Tension

2015
Video installation on loop 

INSTALLATION PREVIEW: vimeo.com/154914664






183 Dreams
2013
Short film, 3:32 min, 16mm black and white film




Ladybird
2013
Short film, 4 min, HD video

Co-Written and Co-Directed by Sunny Leerasanthanah and Sydney Kovar. Originally screened at Ithaca College, New York




NYC Chinatown 2021







FAMILY ARCHIVE

Images from the 1970s from my aunt’s collection



At the end of the school year, my aunt and her friends gave each other professional headshots for safekeeping.




BANGKOK 2019 – 2020







CAMBODIA 2019 – 2020




NEW YORK in Black & White

Ithaca, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan












©2022 SUNNY LEERASANTHANAH