Little Vietnam, 2019
Super 8 film transferred to digital, stereo, colour
16 mins 40 secs


Turf Projects, London

24 May- 6 July 2019

Turf Projects presents ‘Little Vietnam’, the first UK solo exhibition by London-born artist Will Pham, continuing his ongoing engagement with British Vietnamese refugee histories.

Will Pham presents new work shot on super 8 film. Using his parent’s restaurant ‘Little Vietnam’ in South Wimbledon as a space for writing and speaking, Pham’s new work explores his thoughts on family, identity, the nature of charity and gratitude.

At Turf Projects, the exhibition will evolve with a programme of events and workshops led by Pham. Contributors will undertake a community filmmaking workshop that expands on ideas in the exhibition.

The exhibition and events were made possible with the generous support of the Arts Council England & Croydon Council.

‘Little Vietnam’, 2019, is a video installation named after the artists parents restaurant in London and explores the ramifications of ‘Save the Children’, a charity that helped vietnamese refugee children settle in the UK. The starting point was to use the restaurant as a studio to explore the personal as political. Pham discovered stories of his parents rescue at sea by a British captain 40 years ago and their journey to the UK and eventual support from ‘Save the Children’ charity. Pham asks what does it mean to survive historical events and how does this connect to the present moment? By filming in close proximity and being a witness to everyday family scenes, Pham withholds speaking a master narrative or ‘truth’ and instead shows us what images of survival look like. The first drafts of the film begun with extensive archival footage from the Vietnam war as a way to contrast themes of violence and innocence. However as it developed, these scenes were withdrawn in order to ask, how can we heal from intergenerational trauma without perpetuating images of violence? The film is paired with an evocative musical score to assert innocence, beauty and faith. By concentrating away from community and more on family, Pham asks us to reconsider what is activism and how can it start from those closer to home. 

Film Credits:

Director, Camera, Editor: Will Pham
Original music: An Ton Nhat
Installation: Turf Projects

Photo Credit: Tim Bowditch