Limerick, Ireland

* Betsy Damon Archive: Keepers of the Waters (Chengdu and Lhasa), led by Asia Art Archive

The presentation of the Betsy Damon Archive: Keepers of the Waters included two iterations of the project that took place in Chengdu, Sichuan in 1995, and later Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region in 1996 and focused on the individual and collective public performances and installation works.  In 1991 Betsy Damon, a performance artist, feminist, and environmental activist founded Keepers of the Waters in the United States. Adopting a collaborative approach, the initiative raised awareness of environmental issues through artistic, scientific, and educational projects.

The participation of Asia Art Archives’ Betsy Damon Archive: Keepers of the Waters formed part of Little did they know, the Guest Programme of the 39th EVA International, curated by Merve Elveren.


Betsy Damon is a feminist performance artist and environmental activist. Founded and directed by Damon in 1991, Keepers of the Waters is a community-based water activism initiative which travelled to China between 1995 and 1996. Damon invited local and international artists to create public performances and installation art to raise awareness of source water protection, particularly in the Funan and Lhasa rivers. The core of this research collection is documentation of the two iterations of Keepers of the Waters that took place in Chengdu, Sichuan in 1995, and Lhasa, the Tibet Autonomous Region in 1996. Comprised of slides, audio-visual recordings, newspaper clippings, and interviews, this collection is related to performance art, women artists, exhibition histories, and the development of regional contemporary art in China.

Asia Art Archive (AAA) is a catalyst for new ideas that enrich our understanding of the world through the collection, creation, and sharing of knowledge around recent art in Asia. AAA is an independent non-profit organisation initiated in 2000 in response to the urgent need to document and make accessible the multiple recent histories of art in the region. With one of the most valuable collections of material on art freely available from its website and onsite library, AAA builds tools and communities to collectively expand knowledge through research, residency, and educational programmes.

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