Hang Nguyen

 

Hang is a visual artist, writer and poet from Viet Nam. She traveled from Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam to Simrishamn, Sweden to participate in the KB Art House Artist-In-Residence from November 2019 to January 2020. Her trip was supported by the Mobility First! Special Open Call with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I spent 3 weeks at the residency to do research about materials and finish my new sculptures installation to exhibit in the art space at the end of the residency. The whole process happened in 50 days including:

  • Exchange of culture and working ideas with curator from China
  • Open studio and come to visit local artist’s studio to see how they work
  • Have a chance to meet artists in another art field such as: musician, writer, singer, dancer
  • Local artists take me to visit Art School Design, church and museum in Sweden and Copenhagen

What are some of the most interesting lessons you have learned during your visit?

The most interesting thing is probably the very cold winter weather and how this increases the concentration of work.

In addition, the city of Simrishamn has very little contemporary art activity so staying here and displaying works are a highlight for the town. And so, I had the opportunity to talk to artists in the region, we were particularly interested in the role of women in society and in Viet Nam.

Like I envisioned, they know very little about Viet Nam so through this activity, I have the opportunity to review and update how contemporary Vietnamese art is developing after the American War.

Before I came to Simrishamn, I was told that the city had only 6,000 people and that in the winter there were very few people coming to live and there was almost no special activity. So, I thought I wanted the challenge of living in silence and working in inclement weather. Because it is very different from the fast, crowded and hot pace of life in Ho Chi Minh City. The materials for sculpting were also scarce, but thanks to that, I found the paper-making method very helpful and it helped me to finish my work on time.

Also, because people here rarely see art exhibitions, it makes me more motivated to want to bring something new to them and I’m happy to hear from local artists. that my work inspires and makes them want to make more works and displays to give the city a richness in life through art.

What professional & personal objectives did you achieve in this activity?

Through practicing art and explaining the meaning of the work to the audience, is a way for me to raise awareness about the role of female artists in issues of ethnicity, immigration and political views.

In this stay, I combine two types of literature and visual art. About literature, I had the opportunity to talk to the library staff in the area and hope to have the opportunity to come back for a book introduction here. Through these globalized links, I was invited by another foundation to write short stories for their 20th anniversary.

In terms of visual art, through the local artist, I have the opportunity to collaborate with a female artist on illustration for the book that I will publish next year.

I think being an Asian artist and having a work in the European library system is a great opportunity when they are so short of Vietnamese authors and works. Accepting an offer with a specific deadline next year made me more determined and more confident about my future direction.

I think that although our cultures are very different, the role of artists in society and professional development is always difficult because we do not have good economic background to support it. The paradox is that it becomes more difficult when you are a Western artist because the competition is very high and sometimes the artist also has to work hard to have an exhibition. I think this is a great global challenge.

The Mobility First! Special Open Call with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still on-going!