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Visiting “Artivists” Spotlight: Dr. Chi Suwichan Phatthanaphraiwan and Khuewa


Chi and Khueva

For the month of April 2022, the East-West Center Arts Program hosted Dr. Chi Suwichan Phatthanaphraiwan and Khuewa, a husband-and-wife team of academic “artivists” from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chi is the first of the indigenous Pgaz k’Nyau (Karen) people of Thailand to obtain a PhD and professorship in Thailand. He serves as professor of geo-cultural management at Bodhivijjalaya College, Srinakharinwirot University in Mae Sod, founded the Karen Eco-museum of Tak Province, and serves as principal of a demonstration school in Mae Chaem (Chiang Mai), where Karen culture is formally infused into the high school curriculum.

Chi and Khuewa primarily worked with Dr. Benjamin Fairfield (East-West Center Education Program staff and UHM Music Department lecturer, ethnomusicology) in their ongoing collaborative academic project about Karen culture, religion, sustainability, and music. Central to Chi’s residency was a masterclass workshop with students of Fairfield’s MUS311 Thai Ensemble, which focused this semester on Karen music in Thailand. To learn more about this innovative course offered by the music department and sponsored by CSEAS, please visit our previous post.

Chi and Khuewa’s busy month included a variety of activities at EWC, UH, and in the local community focused on mutual learning, performance, and exchange. Some highlights included:

  • Collaborative studio recording & translation project with UH Ethnomusicology MUS 678 Transcription Seminar graduate students.

Collaborative Studio Recording & Translation Project with UH Ethnomusicology

For the month of April 2022, the East-West Center Arts Program hosted Dr. Chi Suwichan Phatthanaphraiwan and Khuewa, a husband-and-wife team of academic “art…

  • Studio recordings at the East-West Center and HPR’s Atherton Studio to be used in tehnaku curriculum/world music textbook (co-written with Dr. Fairfield, forthcoming).

Studio recordings at the East-West Center and HPR’s Atherton Studio (co-written with Dr. Fairfield)

For the month of April 2022, the East-West Center Arts Program hosted Dr. Chi Suwichan Phatthanaphraiwan and Khuewa, a husband-and-wife team of academic “art…

  • Public performances (East-West Center’s East-West Fest, Chaminade University’s Earth Day Festivities, Church of the Crossroads’ Sustainability Sunday [see video below], and a [video: live-streamed concert from Hawaii] to raise awareness of Karen human & eco-forestry rights in Thailand).

Church of the Crossroads’ Sustainability Sunday

For the month of April 2022, the East-West Center Arts Program hosted Dr. Chi Suwichan Phatthanaphraiwan and Khuewa, a husband-and-wife team of academic “art…

  • Guest lectures on Karen music (UH Manoa MUS107 and Hawaii Pacific University MUS2101 Music in World Culture courses).
  • Guest lectures on Indigenous geo-politics, Karen spirituality, and eco-forestry management (UHWO HPST 342, UHM ASAN 496, UHM POLS 406).
  • Presentations at secondary schools (Punahou, Hale Ku Mana, Mālama Honua, and Voyager Public Charter School).

  • Choral collaboration with the International Vocal Ensemble of Hawaii Pacific University where one of Chi’s original compositions was set to SATB choral accompaniment.
  • Publication meetings with EWC researchers on future academic collaborations and publications
  • Learning tours and opportunities to learn about contemporary indigenous issues and representation (lo‘i and agricultural site visits, Bishop museum, Hawaiian Theatre, HCC’s Ho‘olaule‘a).

Written by Dr. Benjamin Fairfield.