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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.
"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."
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.
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.
Near the end of last February, I saw an event floating in my FB newsfeed entitled Soap for the dogs x She who has no master(s). It caught my eye because I noticed the names of three Viet women: Vi Khi Nao, Dao Strom, and Stacey Tran. I must go, I must support, were the words running through my head. […]
A photo project exploring "the stories we carry". The focus of this project is to highlight the experiences of second generation immigrants, third generation immigrants, and beyond. It is about acknowledging the roots of our ancestors and our parents planted and finding spaces to let our own stories “branch” and take shape.