Thi My Lien Nguyen

(socially engaged)
visual artist + photographer





Food for the dead

2020 – ongoing

Three Grains of Rice and Some Gold
exhibition, 02/06 – 17/07/22 at Coalmine Winterthur

In 2022, I put together a first exhibition of this body of work. The show focuses on the tension and duality of being multicultural, dealing with loss and grief and thinking in cycles. 

Next to the show, I activated the installation with a shared dinner experience in addition with a guided tour by the curator Annette Amberg.

exhibition documentation by Guadalupe Ruiz


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 Wiedler
photo documentation            by Raisa Durandi



2022 – ongoing

Social Art / Intervention

Gatherings brings people together to share a meal, while trying to let go, putting emphasis on being in the moment without planning everything step-by-step. The artist collaborates with (Swiss atelier/studio) communities to create a Gathering.
Not planning beforehand is essential for a Gathering, allowing all participants to take part in the process of creating a Gathering from the very beginning. The essence of the piece is to establish a group dynamic which puts the collective first. The idea is to collaborate on creating a meal together to enjoy afterwards.

The artist functions mainly as a mediator and initiator, while at the same time builds a platform. She provides a frame and holds a space: possibilities to cook, to share, to feel included.

Gatherings include a ritual in the end, where all participants are asked to take a moment inward, while staying connected with the collective. Each and every is asked to write down letters, personal goals, things to let go or to illustrate fake money. Inspired from the artist ancestory background, the ritual ends with burning all the letters and fake money in a fire during a collective shared moment.

So far took place at: Atelier Bruch, Atelier Grosse Pause, ptth:// off-space Lucerne, Angkor Photo Festival
Documentation by: JL Lavier, Sereyrath Mech, Thi My Lien Nguyen



2020 – ongoing


Makét 02: From Here On Out
photobook published by Matca in Hanoi, 2022

Four artists explore what matters to them at a specific point in time, be it a visual experiment, reflections on memory and belonging, current socio-economic forces within the personal realm – these topics do not stand alone but often intersect with one another.

In fleeting nightscapes, Nguyen Duy Tuan comes to terms with his private grievances and the stifling ordinariness of small-town life. Now hidden away from public view, the animal-infused liquor jars portrayed by Binh Dang are further mystified and elevated into urban legends. A self-described “no-land man”, Nguyen Dinh Phong captures whited-out real estate boards imposed on deserted backgrounds, which then become a self-fulfilling prophecy when the pandemic takes its toll on his tourism-dependent adopted city. Thi My Lien Nguyen attempts to map the Vietnamese experiences in Switzerland, going great literal lengths in search of people and things connected to her home country.

Makét 02: From Here On Out
Produced by Matca, co-published with The Gioi Publishing House
Year of release: 2022
Number of pages: 234
Size: 14 x 20cm
Language: Vietnamese and English
Print run of 500 copies
More info here.


Hiếu thảo – With love and respect