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Exhibit explores migration, identity

Update: March, 02/2016 - 08:18
Migration and Identity: One of a series of oil paintings by Duong Thuy Duong on display at the Ha Noi exhibition. — Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Two Vietnamese artists based in Germany are showcasing the harmony between the two cultures through an exhibition titled Migration and Identity.

Immigration in Europe is higher than ever, with migration a hot-button issue, particularly in Germany. The immigration of Vietnamese people into Germany has a long tradition and is considered to be a success story: Vietnamese people are often described as one of the best integrated immigrant communities in Germany.

In 2014 about 16.4 million people or 20 per cent of the German population had an immigrant background. These people encounter unknown traditions in their new home.

"Many of them are living with two cultures, raising questions of self- and external-perception again and again: Where do I come from? Where do I belong? How am I seen by others?" said Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch, director of the Goethe Institute in Ha Noi.

The exhibition shows two artistic positions that deal with questions of identity in a sometimes very personal way with works by Duong Thuy Duong and Do Tuan Anh.

"Their art focuses on questions concerning life with and between two cultures, addressing issues of migration and identity," she said.

Anh born in 1979 in the northern central province of Thanh Hoa, studied Graphic Design at the University of Fine Arts in Ha Noi. In 2013, he moved to Solingen (Germany), where he lives and works as a freelance artist.

The artist processes the experiences of his early days in a foreign country as well as the cultural differences to his home country in his current series of paintings called Beginning.

Duong is the same age as Anh. She studied at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design and is currently based in Berlin. This is the third time that Duong has exhibited her work in co-operation with the Goethe Institute in Ha Noi. Her oil paintings are on display, focusing on the representation of the inner human being.

For Duong, personality and identity are expressed through inner thoughts, not through facial expressions.

"I find inspiration to paint from Agnes, a character in Immortality, a novel by Milan Kundera, in which Agnes springs from a gesture that the author once noticed while sitting beside the swimming pool at his health club in Paris," Duong said.

"I wish I could live in a planet where people don't need faces," she said. "They don't guess and appreciate each other by looking at faces but can look into each other's internal life. Life would be so easy."

The exhibition will run until March 13 at the Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ha Noi. — VNS

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