ASAI Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho CFGNY Samuel Ibram Mai-Thu Perret Will Pham Soda Plains TROI OI
TROI OI conceives a group exhibition of contemporary artists, fashion designers and musicians from diaspora communities originally from Southeast Asia and considers the recent and ongoing movement of people within and away from the region after the Cold War, and its related aspects of migration, dislocation, resettlement and hybridity.
In “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” Jamaican-born, British sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall, addresses issues of identity in relation to cultural practice and proposes thinking of cultural identity as a ‘production’, constantly in process and constituted within, and not outside, representation. Based on the black diaspora in England, he describes the experience of the migrant as one of displacement and hybridity, in cultures and experiences. He concluded that individuals have more than one identity: the first is based on shared cultural codes, history and collectivity, which people hold in common and that is artificially imposed as “selves”; and the second, which is based on an active process of production, which responds to ruptures and points of difference and is therefore a matter of ‘becoming’ as well as ‘being’, continuously transforming through a ‘play of history, culture and power’.*
Taking the artworks as a starting point in engaging with socio-historical or autobiographical accounts of the diaspora experience, the exhibition draws attention to the act of crossing permeable, geopolitical and cultural borders. These experiences may be configured by mobility, social exclusion, integration and new identity formation.
Conceived as a platform to initiate dialogue on diaspora and movement through art, fashion and music, “Diaspora, Ma Homey”, specifically investigates two defining passages of dispersion: the first in regards to exiting, or leaving the home country for personal, political or economic reasons and the second with being forced to culturally adapt, transform, integrate or hybridise within the new home country.
Together, these migratory passages invite new ways of thinking about borders as an enduring cultural and geopolitical divide in a progressively borderless global society.
Developed around the notion of ‘diaspora’ as methodological framework, the works not only reflect the artists’ impression of their own experiences of transitory life, but also examine the migratory circumstances that have shaped Europe as a region of diverse ethnicities, religions, and languages.
Featuring diverse practices, “Diaspora, Ma Homey” doesn’t seek to define, nor survey, “diasporic” art, fashion or music but to be a conversation with the audience about the experience of diaspora that reveals itself in the works, by exploring the everyday significance of territorial, ideological and social borders, political and cultural identity, and home and belonging.
* Stuart Hall “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” (1994)
TROI OI is an interdisciplinary project between Nhu Duong and Sung Tieu offering a platform to examine their cultural heritage as Vietnamese immigrants living in Western Europe.