Ten voices theatrically captured with the camera lens illustrating the diasporic reflections of contemporary Vietnam and Cambodia. ‘Poetic Politic’ a group exhibition of contemporary photography, video and documentary, curated by Zoe Butt and co-organized by Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco and Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh City.
“What does it mean to live in a country like Vietnam whose streets boast the booming voice of communist capitalism and yet the family lounge room still echoes with the memory of war? What does it mean to live in a country where traditional art forms lacking innovation struggle for contemporary relevance; where cultural curricula and public event lament the era before the Khmer Rouge wiped out intellectual life, or before Communist propaganda replaced one’s right to freedom of speech? What does it mean to possess ethnic and cultural attachment to a country whose complex memory you better recall through trauma, image and text rather than a current lived perspective? The use of photography and video by artists from Vietnam and Cambodia poetically captures the contradictions and inconsistencies of belonging, living or dreaming about contexts they are intrinsically connected and yet perhaps, also removed. What is evident in this collection of works is the power of mobility providing reflective perspective on the social state of play in communities these artists share, care and relate. From the theatre of war, territorial conquest, the pressure to politically conform and acquiesce to authority; to the touristic monopolies and mythological superstitions that perpetuate popular cultural stereotype – this exhibition is a glimpse of the talent that visually and metaphorically rephrases the presence of a political voice.”