Looking for Sirih

About Moonwen:
Moonwen is an artist Duo, whose practice lies in artistic research. With a specific focus on feminist decolonial theories, Moonwen engages her 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 are 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 thoughts.


This project “Looking for Sirih” is based on previous field research by Mooni Perry in Taiwan that investigates the betel nut chewing culture and its sexist stigma of the women selling betel nuts. From this year, Moonwen extends their research on the relations between indigenous culture, survival and resistance strategies, and the vicissitude of the betel nuts industry. In the indigenous culture and everyday life in Southeast Asia, betel nuts enjoy recognition in its medical usage and for its social affability. The cultivation of betel nuts has been the mainstay for many communities in the region’s rising economy. However, in the sight of modernization, betel chewing is condemned to be a bad habit that signifies ignorance and backward. Through a micro synecdoche -Betel Nut, Moonwen deploys rhizomatic methodology with feminist perspectives. The vicissitude of betel nut, entangles with ecological and geographical constellation, expounding and reflexing the modernization in—and the landscape formed by its diaspora beyond—Asia.