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b. 1973, Vietnam

Nguyen Trinh Thi Biography

Independent filmmaker and video artist Nguyen Trinh Thi evokes memory and remembrance as alternative methods of accessing obscured or unwritten histories. Her work is deeply informed by an engagement with socio-cultural concerns and a commitment to confronting contentious and often polarising local issues, despite restrictions surrounding censorship and limited artistic freedoms in her native Vietnam. Her practice encompasses both original footage obtained through extensive investigative field work and found material, complicating the distinctions between documentary filmmaking, video art and performance. Nguyen's video works are formally complex and multilayered renderings of Vietnam's complicated past and the continuing reverberations of historical events in the present.

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Nguyen presents Letters from Panduranga, 2015, for the 21st Biennale of Sydney at Carriageworks, a meditative filmic essay set against the backdrop of plans to build the country's first two nuclear power plants in Ninh Thuan province. Formerly known as Panduranga, Ninh Thuan is the homeland of the Cham people, an ethnic minority group descended from the medieval Hindu kingdom of Champa. The Cham people and their centrality to Vietnam's history, particularly the final annexation of Champa by Vietnamese Emperor Minh Mang in 1832, has been omitted from official historical accounts. This new construction resurrects the government's refusal to acknowledge the presence of the Cham people, with the nuclear power plants threatening to devastate their native land. The issue has failed to receive media attention, and consultation has not been sought. Nguyen aims to bring light to this overlooked part of Vietnamese history and the Cham people's continued marginalisation.

The film takes the form of a letter exchange between a man and a woman: the woman describes her experiences and she walks through Champa land and the man describes his as he follows the Ho Chi Minh trail. The film presents intimate glimpses into the lives of members of the community and their daily labours and activities coupled with spectacular images of the landscape, providing a sympathetic and poetically driven account of daily life and the subjective concerns of the inhabitants. Melding ethnographic, anthropological and documentary elements, Nguyen incorporates intimacy and nuance into her films, reconfiguring notions of what constitutes an accurate or comprehensive conception of history.

Tai Spruyt and Stephanie Berlangieri | Biennale of Sydney Exhibition Team | 2018

Nguyen Trinh Thi Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Shaping Geographies: Art | Woman | Southeast Asia at Gajah Gallery, Singapore
23 November–31 December 2019 Group Exhibition Shaping Geographies: Art | Woman | Southeast Asia Gajah GallerySingapore

Nguyen Trinh Thi In Related Press

The 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition Related Press The 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition

The world-renowned Biennale of Sydney is back next year to celebrate its 45th anniversary exhibition. Set to maintain its status as the largest and best-attended contemporary arts event in Australia, the 21st Biennale of Sydney is anticipated to once again bring an impressive and diverse range of contemporary artists and artworks to the...

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Asia in the spotlight: The Prudential Eye Awards 2016 Related Press Asia in the spotlight: The Prudential Eye Awards 2016 21 January 2016, Art Radar Journal

The Prudential Eye Awards 2016 was held at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on 19 January 2016. Featuring 15 shortlisted artists, 39 works and an eminent panel of Judges, the event celebrates Asia’s most exciting up-and-coming talent. The awards ceremony was officiated by Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth...

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2014 Signature Art Prize Exhibition Related Press 2014 Signature Art Prize Exhibition 8 December 2014, Sylvia Tsai for ArtAsiaPacific / 3 December 2014

On November 14, the third edition of the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize opened its exhibition of finalists at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), which consists of 15 works from 13 countries—a geographical breadth that extends from Pakistan to New Zealand. The 15 shortlisted artists of the 2014 Signature Art Prize are:...

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