Knick-knacks / Installation / Mix-media / 70x140cm

My elder sister – Chi toi
San Art, Saigon, Vietnam
December 16, 2010 – January 1, 2011

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A response to the lyrics of a popular 1980’s song called ‘Chi Toi’ (My Elder Sister) by Tran Tien. The lyrics are about the life of the eldest child of a Vietnamese family, and her dedication to them. The exhibition reflects upon the customary roles and responsibilities of the young, and especially women, in contemporary Vietnam. ‘Knick-Knacks’ is a collection of the little things, little stories, in an ordinary woman’s life, that make her who she is. The concept behind it is the question “What gives a woman her strength?”, and also “What ties her down?”.

The whole shelf of bottles carries different stories which are ‘secretly told’ to the viewers, and seeks to make a connection with them on the topic at hand. They are invited to look at these ‘intimate objects’ with a magnifying glass, or simply to feel them with their five senses. This process seeks to engage the guest into exploring the artist’s inner thoughts, and perhaps his/her own story as well.

Bottles’ labelled (from left to right): Grandpa’s strength, Grandma’s breath, Father’s time, Mom’s youth

Bottles’ labelled (from left to right): Brother’s bad habit, Stranger’s strangeness, His scent, Imaginary Sister’s kiss