Sunny Leerasanthanah

PROJECTS:
    This is as far as I can take you
    Contain Yourself
    Naturalization
    Sticky Note Sketches
    Offerings
    Wuthichai (Exit Interview)
    Mom’s Magnets
    Homes Against Tides
    Towards Tenderness
    Carry Me Home
    Handwriting Superstition Workshop
    We Are Here Book Commission
    Chinatown Futures
  
PHOTO PORTRAITS
PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTO JOURNAL
VIDEO & FILM
WRITING

ABOUT / CONTACT
PRESS
CV

︎ News ︎

︎︎︎2024 | Studio Residency at Artists Alliance Inc. LES Studio Program (thru Feb 2025) ︎

︎︎︎✺ 2024 | Feature & Interview with Claire Kim for The Here and There Co. ︎

︎︎︎✺ 2024 | Feature & Interview with TAGTAGTAG Magazine ︎

︎︎︎2024 | “This is as far as I can take you” solo show at Smack Mellon (NY) Feb 10 - April 14, 2024

︎︎︎2023 | “Naturalization” solo exhibition at John Michael Kohler Arts Center (WI) July 2023-Jan 2024

︎︎︎2023 | Lesbian Narratives of Cherry Grove: Presentation & Panel Discussion, April 23, 2023 at Candice Madey Gallery 6:30pm (Free) 

︎︎︎2023 | Residency at Image Text Workshop ︎

︎︎︎2023 | Residency at Center for Book Arts 

︎︎︎2022 Nov | Guest panelist for “Let’s Talk About Photo Books” discussion at Soho Photo Gallery. Nov 12, 4:30-6pm ︎

︎︎︎2022 July | Residency at Fire Island Artist Residency




sunnyleeras@gmail.com

Bio:
Sunny Leerasanthanah 
b. Bangkok, Thailand
Lives in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Sunny Leerasanthanah (she/ they) was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, and currently lives and works in New York City. Her visual art practice spans video, photography, multimedia installation, book arts, and performance, ruminating on storytelling, placemaking, identity, family, superstition, and collecting.

Their first solo institutional show, “Naturalization” at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (WI) ran from July 29, 2023 through January 28, 2024. Upcoming, they are exhibiting a new body of work in their first major New York solo show at Smack Mellon.

Sunny is an upcoming artist-in-residence at Artists Alliance Inc.’s LES Studio Program. They were most recently a recipient of the 2023 Center for Book Arts' Book Artist-in-Residence. They have also been a recipient of the 2023 Image Text Workshop Residency, the 2022 Fire Island Artist Residency, the 2021 Queens Council on the Arts' 2021 New Work Grant, 2018 Rehearsal Residency, and 2015 James B. Pendleton Grant at Ithaca College.

They have exhibited at SculptureCenter (NY), Lubov (Projects) (NY), Local Project Art Space (NY), and Handwerker Gallery (NY), amongst other spaces. Their book Mom’s Magnets (2020) is in the collection of Asia Art Archive in America (NY) and Fathom Library (RI). They have spoken in panel discussions including at Candice Madey Gallery (NY), Soho Photo Gallery (NY), Queer | Art (virtual), and Asian American Arts Alliance (virtual).

In their commission photography work, they have published 40+ portraits of American artists and art world figures in the book We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World by Jasmin Hernandez (2021). They are an Up Next Member with Diversify Photo.

Sunny received a Master of Arts from Teachers College at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ithaca College. Beyond their visual art practice and photography, they work at The Curve Foundation.


Contain Yourself
PERFORMANCE-PRESENTATION
Sat. March 30, 2024 4PM
Link to Smack Mellon page ︎



In conjunction with their solo exhibition in Gallery Two, This is as far as I can take you, Smack Mellon presents a performance-driven presentation by the artist, Sunny Leerasanthanah. As a performance, Contain Yourself narrates the process of creating a live and living archive while interweaving stories linked to the themes and contents of the exhibition. Using storytelling, projected images, time, text, and documentation, Sunny meanders through topics including accidental archiving, amateur camcording, fixations on ghosts, and how to convince the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of an urgent event.







Sunny Leerasanthanah: Contain Yourself

Sticky Note Sketches
Published by The Provocation Collection

https://www.theprovocationcollection.com/provocations/sticky-note-sketches



Description via The Provocation Collection: 
I first tasked my friends to each draw a horse on an individual 3 x 3 inch sticky note. Eyes closed, we stuck our sketches to the closet door in no particular order. Then as a group we observed the collection. Some insights were immediate and some appeared the longer we stared. All horses but one were drawn facing left. All were full-bodied except one, a horse head. Curiosity around the collective imaginary of the horse generated discussion.

I prompted this exercise again in a different context with more people when I attended Cornell University’s Image Text Workshop as an artist-in-residence in 2023. This time I invited people to draw a bridge. A wide range of interpretations appeared. Simple curved lines. Triangular bridges. Bricked bridges. Bridges across bodies of water. I found myself drawn to grouping types and finding order within the larger collection.

The simple sticky note is ideal as material because it is accessible, uniform, and portable. Its disposable, everyday use also invites quick bursts of creativity without intimidation.

///

Observe and discuss connections and associations in a themed collection of images.

Invitation

  1. With a group of people, think of a subject matter. You can propose a subject to the group or decide on one together. Start this exercise with something tangible and simple rather than abstract. Some examples: a container, a meal for two, a fire, shelter, hair.
  2. Individually, without consulting with one another’s thoughts or ideas, draw your interpretation of the subject on your single sticky note. If possible, everyone should use the same type of pen or pencil to maintain uniformity across material.
  3. Once everyone completes their sketches, present the sticky notes as an anonymous grouping. This exercise is not focused on who made what drawing. Rather, it is an opportunity to observe and discuss connections and associations from viewing a themed collection of images.
  4. Take time to look at the sticky notes. Share observations, ask questions, and follow the conversation freely. The observations will likely start from looking at form, like similarities and differences, and that’s a great place to begin.
  5. After sharing insights on form, expand the conversation. Touch on process, including the process of imagining, and the process of sketching. Transition into reflection. Speak to potential feelings sketches may evoke, and reasonings behind why.

Naturalization

“Naturalization” solo exhibition by Sunny Leerasanthanah at John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Curated by Tanya Gayer

July 29, 2023 – January 28, 2024
︎ Link to JMKAC website

Installation Images



Artwork Details














“Certain Aliens” (2023)
HD video, color, sound; duration 42 min

Cast: Hugo Gallo, x senn-yuen rance, Cherrie Yu
Directing: Sunny Leerasanthanah
Video and Sound Editing: Sunny Leerasanthanah
Videography: Sorn Bunnag
Set Design: Sophie Porter-Hyatt
Sound: Cy Kim
Lighting: Lindsay Vanderpool
Production Assistants: Josephine Heston and Lucas Reif
Movers: Joel Trejos and Thomas Truong
Captions and Titles: Sunny Leerasanthanah
Additional Sound and Foley: Chosic, Josephine Heston, Sunny Leerasanthanah
Props and Furniture: Materials for the Arts and Remix Market NYC
Commissoned by John Michael Kohler Arts Center







"Naturalization" (2023) by Sunny Leerasanthanah
HD video, color, sound; duration 14 min

Video and Video Editing: Sunny Leerasanthanah
Sound and Sound Editing: Cy Kim

Sound Credits:
Field recordings by Sunny Leerasanthanah
Studio recordings by Cy Kim and Sunny Leerasanthanah
Additional audio by the National Park Service Sound Library
Texts sourced from government and news media sources.

Comissioned by John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Partially produced while in residence at Fire Island Artist Residency 2022



Offerings

Work in progress (2023-ongoing)
Binding Qing Ming joss paper sourced from Bangkok, Thailand.






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 (45+ artist portraits, and studio and art work photography) by Sunny Leerasanthanah

Purchase at Abrams Books ︎













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

︎︎~ LAST FEW COPIES AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE !~
email sunnyleeras@gmail.com




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


This is as far as I can take you
2023
(Description coming soon)





Certain Aliens
2023
(Description coming soon)
Currently exhibiting at John Michael Kohler Arts Center
July 29, 2023 - Feb 18, 2024
︎ Exhibition text

42 min, HD color video

Cast: Hugo Gallo, x senn-yuen rance, Cherrie Yu
Directing: Sunny Leerasanthanah
Video and Sound Editing: Sunny Leerasanthanah
Videography: Sorn Bunnag
Set Design: Sophie Porter-Hyatt Sound:
Cy Kim Lighting: Lindsay Vanderpool
Production Assistants: Josephine Heston and Lucas Reif
Movers: Joel Trejos and Thomas Truong
Commissioned by John Michael Kohler Arts Center



Naturalization
2022-2023
(Description coming soon)
Currently exhibiting at John Michael Kohler Arts Center
July 29, 2023 - Feb 18, 2024
︎ Exhibition text

14 min HD color video

Video: Sunny Leerasanthanah
Sound: Cy Kim
Commissioned by John Michael Kohler Arts Center





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












©2024 SUNNY LEERASANTHANAH