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Artist Spotlight | Vian Nguyen

Vian Nguyen is a Bellingham, Washington based artist and resident. Her artworks reflect her own experience as a second Generation Asian American and the relationship between Western culture and the experience of her multigenerational Vietnamese American family. Many of Vian’s recent artworks reflect on her own grieving process after the loss of her mother in 2021. 

In Reach of you

36" x 48" 5lbs

Oil Paint on Canvas

"In Reach of You" is a poignant painting that captures the intimate dialogue of grief intertwined with the artist’s evolving means of communication with her late mother. As she grapples with death for the first time following her passing in 2021, she finds herself navigating a new language of mourning. Each element of this artwork portrays a distinct avenue through which she reaches out to her mother: adorning herself with her cherished jewelry, reaching out with her hands but knowing she will not feel her mothers in her own, and conveying thoughts through the symbolic language of flowers placed on her mother’s resting place.

A home grown offering 

24" x 36" x 2" 5lbs

Oil Paint on Canvas

In Vietnamese culture, a shrine is erected to honor departed family members. To pay respects or commemorate their memory, offerings such as fruits are presented. Vian’s father planted a persimmon tree for her mother when she was younger, knowing it was the family's favorite fruit. Now, every persimmon season, he places them reverently before her mother’s picture as an offering. 

Rice House, 2022

12” x 8” x 8”

Foam board and Jasmine Rice 

As someone living between two cultures, the artist has become observant of social and cultural differences within gender and race. Through her perspective as a second generation female Asian American, her work is an examination of growing up in the suburbs. With the current racial politics, she and many others have become confronted everyday with the systemic racism in our country. With this, she is reminded of the pressures that her immigrant parents placed on her and siblings, to conform to the social norms, to not stand out, or seem more different then we already were from our community. She questions the societal norms and ideals that her parents hoped they could assimilate to. The artist says that Rice House depicts the pressure she put on herself to keep her 'Asian-ness' in when growing up young in the suburbs.

Vian's artworks are available for purchase.

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