Teo Nguyen paints Vietnam at peace

Minneapolis (Sahan Journal): Upon arriving in the United States as a 16-year-old, Teo Nguyen encountered two different views of Vietnamese culture. One was familiar, and informed by his experience growing up in Vietnam. The other was foreign—a version of his identity distorted by outsiders.

“It’s really formulated by non-Vietnamese, by people who don’t know us and by people who don’t seem to understand us.” Nguyen said.

The depictions of Vietnam that Nguyen observed in American media and culture felt reductive, he said. Vietnamese women were often portrayed as sacrificial lambs or prostitutes; Vietnamese men appeared discardable and obtuse.

Painter Teo Nguyen sees beauty in bringing objects to life: “Even abstract objects—landscapes—take meaning and have spiritual value to them,” Nguyen says. Credit: Micah Tran
Nguyen confronts those mischaracterizations through Việt Nam Peace Project, an art exhibition devoted to reclaiming the narrative of post-war Vietnam. The project will be on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Art starting July 30.

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