I was conscious that the readership would be much broader and unfamiliar with the historical and political context against which much of Cabramatta’s gangs emerged, became Australia’s heroin capital and infamously led to Australia’s first political assassination.
But what does a one-night “takeover” of the Minneapolis Institute of Art by Southeast Asian/American artists and creatives look like? I wanted the evening to feel celebratory, unapologetic, and unexpected.
"I have been carrying this film around for over a quarter century from Hanoi to Saigon to Boston and to New York. The origin of these photographs lies in the Saigon of the early 1970s where I was a war orphan."
It is only the failure of the American imagination and perception—a failure and inability to recognize and make space for the full imaginative agency of Vietnamese visions—that has perpetuated the notion of a dearth or naivety of art of the Vietnamese diaspora.
diaCRITICS is a blog that showcases voices and stories from writers, artists and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora on and from all shores. We publish poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, visual art, and more. Our founding editor and publisher is Viet Thanh Nguyen. diaCRITICS is a project of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN).