Opening reception, Friday, Nov. 3, 6-9 pm
MyLoan Dinh was born in Saigon, Vietnam and raised in a traditional Southeast Asian Buddhist household. After fleeing the war-torn country and moving between refugee camps, her family ultimately found a home in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Dinh was educated in the public schools of the predominately Christian South. According to the artist, these geographic, social, cultural, and religious influences shaped her life perspective.“In this body of work, I offer a contemplative navigation through these interwoven layers,” she says. “My work constructs hybrid spaces within which the ever-changing, always unfinished meanings of identity can be explored, subverted, and reimagined.”
Unsettled Provisions features of a variety of media including painting, sculpture, mixed media, performance and installation. Dinh’s history as a war refugee is threaded throughout, informing her artmaking practice. She binds personal narratives to collective experience, referencing the challenges experienced by refugees everywhere such as language barriers, financial setbacks, cultural code shifting, multiple prejudices—even assigned invisibility.
Stories and symbols from her own journey give a more intimate view of the refugee experience. Shredded immigration documents and letters from her parents are reconstituted as slices of pie in “The Uncertainty of Nostalgic Things,” symbolizing how household items can carry traces of colonial and imperial histories. Other sculptural pieces feature objects such as construction tools and boxing gloves coated in eggshell fragments, symbolizing a fight for new beginnings while referencing traditional craft from her heritage.
Her photo collage series, “Baggage Claim,” references the plaid fabric of the iconic “migrant bag,” similar to the one her own mother used when fleeing Saigon. The provisions that Dinh’s mother carried in her migrant bag sustained the family on their uncertain journey. Like her mother, Dinh repurposes provisions of her own making to construct her own space and to amplify her significant voice through this exhibition. These provisions challenge and dismantle falselyassigned identities and offer means to generate new ways of moving and being.
On opening night at 6pm, Dinh will present “Longing for Harmonies,” a public performance piece that will remain part of her show as a virtual installation. Preceding the opening events, the Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery will host an Artist Talk with Dinh at the Kimball Visual Art Center (WSU) on Thursday, November 2nd at 6pm.
Ogden Contemporary Arts 455 25th Street, Ogden UT www.ogdencontemporaryarts.org
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