The project “Looking for Sirih (beauty)” is based on earlier field research by Mooni Perry in Taiwan. It investigates betel nut chewing culture and its sexist stigma against the women selling the betel nuts.
As an artist duo, Moonwen further extends their research into the relations between indigenous culture, survival and resistance strategies, and the vicissitudes of the betel nut industry.
In indigenous culture and everyday life in south-east Asia, betel nut enjoys recognition for its medical use and its social affability. The cultivation of betel nuts has been a mainstay for many communities in the region’s rising economy. However, in light of modernization, betel nut chewing has been condemned as a bad habit, signifying ignorance and backwardness.
Through a micro synecdoche – Betel Nut, Moonwen deploys rhizomatic methodologies with feminist perspectives. The vicissitudes of betel nut, entangled with ecological and geographical constellations, expounds and reflexes the modernization in — and the landscape formed by its diaspora beyond — Asia.
Moonwen is an artist Duo whose practice lies in artistic research. With a specific focus on feminist decolonial theories, Moonwen engages their practice in the discourse of critical reflection on the process of modernisation in Asia, ecology, and inter-dependence between humans and non-humans. Since 2020 they have been running the platform, Asian Feminist Studio for Art and Research (AFSAR), with the aim of establishing connections between contemporary art, scholarly discourse, and activism anchored in (Asian) Feminist thought.