Posted on September 16, 2011
Interview with Dinh Q Le, artist and co-founder of San Art, Ho Chi Minh City
Published April 16, 2010
Dinh Q Le, from From Vietnam to Hollywood
Zoe Butt: In 1993, you returned to Vietnam for the first time since your family in the border town of Ha Tien had fled the horror of atrocity during the Vietnam and Cambodia War in 1978. Your study in Southern California, as a refugee and an immigrant at this time could be said to be heavily influential in guiding your principles and opinions as a practicing artist to this day. As this series of interviews for DISPATCH seeks to give insight as to how the processes of movement (as an experience of tourism, necessity or education in living/traveling to different locale), how would you say your movement between Vietnam and the USA has shaped the kind of work that you do today, particularly in relation to your establishment of the Vietnam Foundation for the Arts and the independent art space and reading room, San Art in Ho Chi Minh City?
Dinh Q Le: My movement between Vietnam and the States is frequent and desired. Much of my immediate family resides in Southern California. As a child growing up in Simi Valley, California with the distant memories of a country whose culture and imagery was being fed back to me via mainstream television and film, it was at times difficult to pinpoint which memories were mine or popularly inherited (this was a topic I pored over in “From Vietnam to Hollywood” a photo-tapestry series and “The Imaginary Country” a 4-channel video installation). This was also one of the reasons I chose to return to Vietnam – to determine for myself my own memories and contexts of who I was as a Vietnamese.