If you like what you read here, please consider making a donation to DVAN via Intersection for the Arts.
I often times view paper as a metaphor for history. When I am working on these hand-cut paper sculptures, I actively carve out space for histories that are actively forgotten and erased in this white supremacist nation. The reductive process deconstructs the white canvas, revealing more and more truths with every slice.
A submission call for "texture poems" from the Vietnamese diaspora, in commemoration of the 44th anniversary of April 30, 1975. This year on diaCRITICS, we wish to reflect on this day in terms of both the past and the present. We would like to consider “textures” of diasporic experience that have since been gathered, created, collected and re-collected, imagined and re-imagined, since that historic day in 1975.
"I dive into history while recognizing that I am more than a war. / We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams. / We have suffered and continue to, but that doesn’t define us. // What value do my communities have in society? // Who is considered worthy of praise? // What is considered natural or unnatural? // What does utopia look like? // I decide. / We decide."
We are Vietnamese. I did not feel at home in my own skin, a banana: yellow on the outside, white on the inside. That is, until I met other Vietnamese Australian artists like Chi Vu who had Vietnamese ancestry and artistic sensibilities.
Isabelle Thuy Pelaud is the co-founder of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network. In this intimate interview, she talks to Vi Khi Nao about everything from poetry, to the long echoes of colonial dynamics in France, to her fight for the lowercase 'i' as a form of subversive rebellion, to dreams, to wonderment, to the beauty of anti-theoretical living as learned from her dog Coco.
Nhạc vàng songs are like ghosts living in and out of diaspora, trailing behind Vietnamese veterans, rewinding themselves, back to their country and the struggles of living through destitution and ideological polarization. The political and historical erasures that were never archived in print media were/are re/recorded and re/produced as songs. […]
In January 2019, The Djerassi Resident Artists Program, in partnership with the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN), hosted 12 women and gender-nonconforming writers of the Vietnamese diaspora, to take part in a hybrid literary/art collective project, She Who Has No Master(s). On the last morning, Vi Khi Nao asked each writer to answer a different question for this collection of one-line interviews.
There are two veterans in the family. Father, who wasn’t recognized as one, and my brother, who was born here and served in the U.S. military and is therefore formally recognized as one. The officially recognized veteran receives the benefits of the institution, and he understands that privilege he holds over the unrecognized.