Listen to Pulitzer Prize-Winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen and exhibited artists Ann Le and Phung Huynh as they discuss their experiences of displacement and conflict and its lasting impact on subsequent generations. Conversation moderated by Vietnamese-American filmmaker Quyên Nguyen-Le.
More about the panelist:
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His other books are The Refugees, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations. His most recent publication is Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book written in collaboration with his six-year-old son, Ellison.
Ann Le works through identity, culture, family history, and the duality of becoming Vietnamese-American. Inspired by the cultural contexts in her life, she correlates the artificial with remembrances of generational trauma. The sentiment is vital in her works as she questions her personal experiences to construct imposing art. She excavates her lineage by revisiting her family’s experiences by using personal and found images to reconstruct slippages in time and history. As layers of images are stacked upon one another, Le travels through time commenting on the idea of home, displacement, separation, and how we embrace and conquer loss. Tragic and Poetic composites are pieced together to unravel narratives that places her Vietnamese-American perspective into a contemporary landscape. Ann Le was the first generation born in San Diego, CA, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Phung Huynh is a Los Angeles-based artist and educator whose practice is primarily in drawing, painting, and public art. Her work explores cultural perception and representation. Huynh challenges beauty standards by constructing images of the Asian female body vis-à-vis plastic surgery to unpack how contemporary cosmetic surgery can create obscurity in cultural and racial identity. Her current work of drawings on pink donut boxes explores the complexities of the refugee experience in Southeast Asian communities. Phung Huynh has had solo exhibitions at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills and the Sweeney Art Gallery at the University of California, Riverside. Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited nationally and internationally in countries such as Germany and Cambodia. She has also completed public art commissions for the Metro Orange Line, Metro Silver Line, and the Los Angeles Zoo. Phung Huynh is a Professor of Art at Los Angeles Valley College and served as Chair of the Community-Based Art/ Prison Arts Collective Advisory Council, which advises a vital program of California State University San Bernardino that provides art courses and workshops to underserved communities and prisons. She completed undergraduate coursework at the University of Southern California, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with distinction from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University.
Quyên Nguyen-Le is a queer Vietnamese American filmmaker whose narrative and documentary films have been shown in various film festivals, universities, art galleries, and community spaces internationally. quyennl.com