Dinh Q. Lê: The Imaginary Country / Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles / Interview, part 1/2

Shoshana Wayne Gallery presents a solo exhibition of new work by Dinh Q. Lê. The exhibition features large-scale photographs and a multi-channel video installation that explores the recent phenomenon of young Diaspora returns to their “Homeland”. Born in Vietnam, Dinh Q. Lê emigrated with his family to the United States in 1979. He spends most of the year in Vietnam, where he produces most of his work. Interview with Dinh Q. Lê, part 1/2. By VTV correspondents Parichard Holm and Liza Foreman. Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles, September 2, 2006.

— Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download video file.

From the press release: Through interlaced images of people walking into the sea in an endless procession presented alongside video portraiture, Lê examines the complexity of the relationship the Vietnamese Diaspora community has with their former “homeland”. Through Hollywood depictions, documentaries on television, and tidbits of stories that their parents reluctantly told them, Vietnam for the young Vietnamese Diaspora has become a mythical place. Many are now coming back to Vietnam, learning to come to term with this legendary place that have haunted them and their parents. The Imaginary Country produced by Lê in collaboration with two other Vietnamese Diaspora artists: Nguyen Andrew Tuan and Ha Thuc Phu Nam.

The photographs that accompany the video capture the visages of clam pickers whom the artist discovered while walking on a remote beach in Vietnam. While the images initially present the hardships of day laborers, they also invoke notions of the exodus of the Vietnamese people after the war. Lê states that upon finding the clam pickers, “It was as if I was transported back to the year 1978, the night my family and neighbors walked into the sea and escaped from Vietnam”.

Posted in: art, interview, Los Angeles, VernissageTV