Through my artwork, I am bringing attention to the experiences, objects, places, and values that are part of the identity of the Vietnamese-American people. My artwork redirects stigma and celebrates Vietnamese-American identity by confronting racism, stereotypes, and underrepresentation.
My current body of work centers on the experience of a first-generation Asian-American. The work focuses on the Vietnamese culture that developed in the United States subsequent to the Vietnam War and the flourishing Vietnamese community established by refugees and immigrants throughout the country. The cultural way of life, traditions, and beliefs of Vietnam have been brought over to America in fragments by the Vietnamese immigrants. The resilience of the Vietnamese people allowed them to adapt to their displacement and create a new culture with what was around them. This culture that the Vietnamese people established has shaped my experience as a first-generation Asian-American. Through my artwork, I am bringing attention to the experiences, objects, places, and values that are part of the identity of the Vietnamese-American people. My artwork redirects stigma and celebrates Vietnamese-American identity by confronting racism, stereotypes, and underrepresentation. Vietnamese nail salons are often stigmatized due to the association with lower-class minority work. However, I believe the Vietnamese nail salon to be one of the great success stories of the Vietnamese-American community. My series, Nail Salon, redirects this stigma and highlights the success of the Vietnamese nail salon industry. The pieces in the Nail Salon series are porcelain cast of display hands typically seen in a nail salon. The display hands signify the idea of a translator. Many workers in the nail industry are immigrants who speak little or no English and rely on visual representation to communicate. The hands in Tết, AROMA, French Tip, and Cám ơn, represent a tool of communication for those dealing with the everyday struggles of language barriers. The hands and nails have depictions of different ideals of success in Vietnamese-American culture based on my experience, such as Catholicism, Vietnamese New Year (Tết), and the family household. These ideals are what bring the Vietnamese culture together in a country where they are the minority.