History and folklore are our roots, which connect humanity. Like us, generations of trees communicate through the root systems. These connections drive my inspiration and research. I seek to evoke a kind of empathy through works that reflect the experiences of the immigrants in America, especially the first generation of Vietnamese. My narrative as a queer displaced person and an outsider of both nations is deeply engrained in my work.
Immigrating to America 5 years ago at the age of 17 challenged my understanding of my own racial identity, and I began to question my sense of belonging and even my judgment. I witnessed cultural values being forgotten and lost in transition. I recognized intangible aspects of my heritage forgotten, historical artifacts devalued, and sacred sites neglected. In returning to the moral lessons in Vietnamese folktales, I sought a kind of grounding in both my life and my work. Preserving and nurturing those concepts is fundamental to my practice.
Through investigating and learning contemporary and traditional craft methods, I grew more passionate about woodworking and foundry metalworking. By utilizing the traditional techniques and methods in working with bronze and bamboo, I seek to honor my ancestors' heritage. The incorporation of ancient symbols and metaphors of animal images allows me to introduce new concepts and provides layers for storytelling.
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