Little Vietnam, 2019
Super 8 film transferred to digital, stereo sound, colour, signage, furniture, vietnamese food, events
16 mins 40 secs

Turf Projects, London

24 May- 6 July 2019

Turf Projects presents a new commission, ‘Little Vietnam’, the first UK solo exhibition by London-born artist Will Pham.

Since his work at the An Viet Foundation, Pham has brought his exploration closer to home focusing on how charity has informed his own family and the British Vietnamese refugee experience. Through extensive research, Pham identified the work of Ockenden Venture and Save the Children Fund based at Hampton Court as key charity organisations that supported his own family and other vietnamese child refugees in the 1970s/80s settle in the UK following unification after the Vietnam war. 

For this exhibition, instead of revealing specific personal testimonies, Pham presents a super 8 film paired with a musical score by An Ton Nhat creating a reflective space to meditate on history, reconciliation and gratitude through image and sound. Pham also presents a selection of vietnamese food by Little Vietnam restaurant which has been run by his parents for over 6 years in nearby South Wimbledon. On the opening night, Pham invited Rosalie Bell and Natalie Bell to speak about their work at Coin Street/Colombo Community Centres, a screening of their film and an exploration of how vietnamese heritage informs community work. Pham has also provided a range of books and a Channel 4 TV report in 1984 about the vietnamese refugees which contextualises and frames the work in this exhibition.

Through approaching this exhibition on multiple levels, collaborations and events, Pham presents a shift in attitude that embraces family and dialogue in order to heal from intergenerational traumas caused by geopolitical violence. Despite these wars happening several decades ago, Pham is interested in how violence and the lack of dialogue is passed through generations. As we experience increasing violence, warfare and terrorism, Pham insists we find new ways to heal and reconcile with the past.

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

Conversation with Will Pham and Natalie Tan: 

Film Credits:

Director, Camera, Editor: Will Pham
Music composer: An Ton Nhat
Food: Little Vietnam Restaurant
Installation: Turf Projects
Photo Credit: Tim Bowditch