SUNNY LEERASANTHANAH

ABOUT

SELECTED PROJECTS
Wuthichai (Exit Interview)                     Carry Me Home
Towards Tenderness
Rehearsal Residency workshop
Homes Against Tides
Mom’s Magnets ︎
We Are Here Artist Portraits
Chinatown Futures
Writing
Video
Commissions
JOURNAL
PRESS


︎ News ︎

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

︎︎︎2021 March | New work is up at SculptureCenter’s annual In Practice show, You may go but this will bring you back (2021)

︎︎︎ 2021 Feb | 40+ Artist portraits published in the book We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World by Jasmin Hernandez (2021)



Mark

sunnyleeras@gmail.com

Sunny Leerasanthanah was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. Her visual art practice spans photography, photo books, video, multimedia installation, and performance, ruminating on storytelling, personal family history, superstition, identity, placemaking, collecting, and memory.

In recent work, she documented her mother’s collection of worldly fridge magnets in a self-published book that debuted at Bangkok Art Book Fair 2020, titled Mom’s Magnets (2020). In 2021, she had 40+ photographic portraits of American artists of color 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. Most recently, she exhibited a commissioned video installation, Wuthichai (Exit Interview), in SculptureCenter’s In Practice show, You may go, but this will bring you back (2021). In this piece, Sunny invites Thai actors to step into the role of her deceased father to improvise answers to her questions. The work was awarded the Queens Council on the Arts 2021 New Work Grant.

Sunny received a BFA in film, photography, and visual arts at Ithaca College and an MA in arts administration from Columbia University.


Contact for CV.


︎︎︎She was the principal photographer for Abrams' upcoming book, We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World by Jasmin Hernandez 


︎︎︎Read her latest writing here:
An Artist's Mission to Preserve New York City's History of Lesbian Nightlife  (Hyperallergic, August 27, 2019)





Wuthichai (Exit Interview) at SculptureCenter for In Practice: You may go but this will bring you back

On view March 25 through August 2, 2021

Download press release here






Towards Tenderness was a 2017 two-person exhibition at Lubov gallery displaying works of and organized by Sunny Leerasanthanah and David Lurvey.



Pamphlet design by Stephen Lurvey




Install shots by David Lurvey

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



Carry Me Home


Photo Series 
Exhibited at Myers Gallery, Columbia University, 2019







EXHIBITION POSTER





WORKSHOP NOTES


rehearsal residency


November 10, 2018
Workshop on handwriting and Thai superstition



Participants’ feedback  - 001



Participants’ feedback  - 002

Participants’ feedback  - 003


Notes

1 I developed and guided a workshop on handwriting and Thai superstition during my time at rehearsal residency.


2 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. Before the workshop, I consulted with her to confirm these beliefs of hers.


︎︎︎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”. 


3 My  mother’s superstition is not rare. In Thailand, belief in the occult or mystic has impressively thrived in the rapidly modernized country. 

︎︎︎ I highly recommend reading this essay by David Teh about Thai contemporary art: “Return To Sender” (Artforum, Feb 2019)






Workshop image - 001



Participants’ feedback  - 004




Workshop image - 002




Rehearsal Residency images








EDITORIAL

Portraits from the Abrams book
We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World (2021) by Jasmin Hernandez




Portrait of KT Pe Benito

Portrait of Kia LaBeija



EXHIBITION PHOTOGRAPHY


Even there, there are stars
Chitra Ganesh, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski, Emily Oliveira, and Tuesday Smillie | Organized by Allie/A.L. Rickard
At CUE Art Foundation, NYC
2021


Totem (2018)  by Chitra Ganesh



Katrina Fimmel, Cirrus
At Lubov, NYC
2017

Installation shots


Artwork detail







LUBA DROZD: Soon enough roads will be rivers
At Lubov, NYC
2017

Installation shots




Amy Ruhl, Between Tin Men: Gifts and Souvenirs
At Lubov, NYC
2017


Installation shots








Formula 1: A Loud, Low Hum
At CUE Art Foundation, NYC
2019


Carrier III (2019) by Laurie Kang 





STUDIO VISITS

Portrait of Laurie Snyder, 2014

Photography for Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca, New York





Portrait of Tamara Santibañez, 2019 

Photography for Gallery Gurls




Portrait of Kamiesha Garbadawala, 2018

Photography for Gallery Gurls










MOM’S MAGNETS


Limited Edition Risograph Print Book
Self-Published, August 2020


Photo courtesy Miriam Gallery

PURCHASE IN USA
via Miriam Gallery’s in-person or online store ︎

PURCHASE IN THAILAND
via Happening Shop’s in-person or online store ︎




Featured in Bangkok Art Book Fair 2020

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. 2020


Self-published
Printing/ Production: Risograph
Size: 14.859 x 20.955 cm
No. of pages: 32 pages
Edition of 100 copies







Homes Against Tides


Photobook
Self-published, 2018




WRITING


An Interview with Artist Gwen Shockey for Hyperallergic (2019)

︎ Link to article






VIDEO WORK


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: https://vimeo.com/225476297







SURFACE TENSION


2015, Installation
Digital Video Projection on Glass Tank

INSTALLATION PREVIEW: https://vimeo.com/154914664








︎ PHOTO JOURNAL



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






ARIZONA 2020









©2021 SUNNY LEERASANTHANAH