Food for the dead

2020 – ongoing

„Honour your ancestors.
Set up a home altar.
Offer fruits and light incese sticks.
Remember your grandfather on his deathday and prepare him his favourite meal.“

This project is about honouring traditions and rituals, while at the same time questioning its position in our current times and place, as well as its history and its development. The series is exploring the tradition of worshipping and honouring ancestors and the mourning process of losing a beloved one.

The work consists of research material, photographs of Thi My Lien Nguyen’s family archive and her own images.

Mời, mời

2021, performance and installation view at Jungkunst 2021 in Winterthur

In «Mời, mời» Nguyen invites the audience to dive into her interpretation of the diverse experiences of secondas and secondos. With this multimedia project Nguyen highlights the issues around Asian hatred and tries to dismantle the model minority myth by questioning the Asian stereotype. Nguyen explores these issues visually and performatively, using food and the act of commune eating as a way to invite the audience to a discourse and to collaboratively unlearn our views on “the other” and the unknown.

The performance took place twice.
During the performance the artist prepared a full meal on location and served a table to offer her ancestors. Within these hours a space has been established where visitors of the exhibition were getting in touch with the artist. Asking questions, starting conversations. The audience was then invited to join the artist in the worshipping ritual, after she briefly explained the context and the steps to go through the ritual. Then the meals were enjoyed with an invited group through an open call, where questions and stories around the meaning of food, traditions, rituals and identity were discussed and exchanged.

video documentation            by Dylan
photo documentation            by Raisa Durandi