Yearly Archives: 2019
Part poem. Part fluent. Part Viet. Part not. These visual diaries are my way of understanding the complexity of being in two separate places at the same time.
While switching between my identities as Loan the Vietnamese refugee and Kim the American professional has sometimes been an emotionally draining, isolating experience, I have grown to become creative, resourceful, resilient, and empathetic as a result of navigating the in-between.
And so this is the ultimate loss, the thing that haunts us the most, because it’s the ghost of not being heard through the sound of the gun, through the sound of War, through the voices of others. This is the lesson that carries itself throughout The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born.
Most debut novels are projects of confession, pleas for understanding, manifestations of an author’s attempt to rescue herself. My own debut novel, If I Had Two Lives, was for me the beginning of a wish⎯a harsh whisper after years of silence, a blindfolded dive into the many tunnels of the subconscious to emerge with something resembling a clear thought, a spark of feelings.
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."
He bought a convenience store instead. It belonged to an Indian man who would light incense every morning with his palms pressed firmly together, bowing his head not in front of pictures of his deceased grandparents like we do but in front of the cash register.