Workshop #1, We Are Living History: Mapping Memories

Workshop #1, We are Living History: Mapping Memories took place at the Vietnamese American Cultural Center on December 7, 2019. The workshop was designed and led by project artists Binh Danh and Trinh Mai, with support from Cynthia Cao. More than thirty elders participating in Chopsticks Alley Art’s Adventures in Contemporary Art program handwrote stories of their journeys from Vietnam, then painted images of native flowers and birds to layer over the top of them. With permission from the contributors, the stories were scanned and translated to be used in support of Hidden Heritages’ overarching commitment to share, amplify, and artistically present stories that share the life experiences of Vietnamese Americans in San José. Participants were encouraged to hang their final works in their homes to spark dialogue among family members, and to inspire others to pass on their stories.

Participants’ reflections on the experience included:

“As immigrants living in this country, a lot of people faced hardships and struggles they want to express, there are many times when they want to communicate how they feel but they don’t know how to explain it, and who would listen? Art provides an outlet to express how they feel and share it with the community.”

“To be able to creatively express oneself allow images that reside in our deepest memories to resurface. Creativity allows people to remember the past and remember who we were, who we are in the present, and who we will be in the future.”




Workshop #1, We are Living History: Mapping Memories

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