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From one witch to another, I sat across from her and asked the question that has haunted me my entire life. The question that made me travel almost 3,000 miles to Brendon’s hometown, to elbow my way through the tourists, to float on my back on the clearest waters you really ever did see and wonder if what Lan Vo told me would ever come to fruition.
The Missing Piece Project calls for a collective intervention at the Wall by Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and other refugee community members still affected today by the legacy of American militarism and imperialism in Southeast Asia. This project envisions a nationwide, coordinated, mass dedication of items at the Wall by refugee community members on the upcoming April 30 anniversary in 2020.
Vanguard Zine brought together and highlighted the work of LGBTQ Vietnamese artists living in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Vietnam. Now they're reflecting on the past five years of their work with a retrospective exhibit in Dorchester, Massachusetts—home to one of the largest diasporic Vietnamese communities.The Vanguard exhibit will be on display at Dorchester Art Project from April 26 to May 19, 2019.
I used to dream of a simpler time, a Vietnam of thatch roof huts and banana leaves and lotus flowers. But this Vietnam only exists in my imagination. We must not romanticise a past that never was, or choose only to remember the innocence of our history. Spoiler alert: Nobody’s history is innocent. We must be brave enough to claim it all. People like me, who by today’s standards are referred to as 'people of colour' or 'minority groups', belong to histories which are not only as tremendous, as grand, and as civilised as the Europeans, but as brutal.
In March 2019, in New York City, a dozen writers of the Vietnamese diaspora gathered together to discuss community, the ghosts in their words, and what they're fighting for with their art.
And yet: I encounter discomfiting truths here, within and outside of myself. How I have for years longed to come back, felt some piece of me missing for not reckoning with the Vietnam that was left behind, and then to come back and have to admit the ways I still feel I do not belong.