For the Generation to Come (Thế hệ mới)

For the Generation to Come (Thế hệ mới) is a dedication to my parents and their arduous journeys to America – not only to escape the Vietnam War – but to ensure a promising future for their own families. The story depicted within this piece extends beyond its idyllic appearance. It is a grim narrative that roughly 1.5 million Vietnamese boat people endured, many of whom were violently captured by Thailand pirates or claimed by the inclement waters and weather. Through an interview with my mother about coming to the US, I gained enormous insight about the hardships of her journey at the age of 12. After I pulled narrative elements from the interview and referenced historical photographs of Vietnamese boat people, I arrived at a digital illustration that was simple (yet effective) in storytelling: a group of people escaping napalm smoke and pointing to an HK refugee camp in the distance. I separated the illustration into numerous layers, then laser-cut each of them to create a stackable mound of wood. My end goal was to build a sculpture symbolizing hope and grieving all in one. Not only does this artwork represent my own familial history, but all the other Vietnamese families who escaped the war by boat – regardless of whether or not they lived to tell their tales.