Vietnamese American artists examine and expand recent histories as they address multigenerational trauma and loss


Emerson Contemporary, Emerson College’s platform for visual art, proudly presents One Day We’ll Go Home, a group exhibition featuring recent work by five Vietnamese American artists Tiffany Chung, Brandon Tho Harris, Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn, Patricia Nguyễn, and Julian Saporiti who each critique the established historical narratives of the wars in Vietnam, colonialism, dislocation, and their long-lasting aftermath. On view in the Media Art Gallery at 25 Avery Street, November 1–December 16, 2023. Free and open to the public, Tuesday–Saturday from 12–6:00 p.m. Opening Reception, Friday, November 3, 5:00–7:30 p.m.

The end of the Vietnam War and the sudden U.S. military evacuations in 1975 marked the beginning of large-scale exodus of citizens of Vietnam. The U.S. government evacuated approximately 125,000 Vietnamese that year, most of whom were likely to be persecuted by the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam government. Through video, archival footage, performance, song, and innovative storytelling, these five artists examine and expand recent histories, both personal and collective, as they address multigenerational trauma and loss. The exhibition highlights the complexities surrounding the concept of homeland for Vietnamese refugees and their children and the familiar feeling of liminality that many refugees experience across the globe. 
“It is my hope that through the stories these artists tell, we gain a deeper understanding of what happened in Vietnam and how these events continue to impact millions of people to this day,” said Dr. Leonie Bradbury, Emerson College’s Distinguished Curator-in-Residence. “Although this exhibition is focused on the Vietnamese diaspora and the impact of the historic events of 1975 and beyond, sadly this topic has renewed relevance today as many refugee crises are happening concurrently across the globe.” 

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Leonie Bradbury, Distinguished Curator-in-Residence, with accompanying exhibition wall texts by Dr. Catherine H. Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Asian Diasporic Literatures. This exhibition and related programming is supported by the Department of Writing, Literature & Publishing, Emerson College School of the Arts, and the Harvard University Asia Center.

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Public Programming

WHAT: Music Video workshop with Julian Saporiti
WHEN: Friday, November 3, 2023. 12:00–2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Emerson College, Ansin Building, Room 605, 180 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Free, but registration is required. RSVP to the event.

WHAT: Artist Talk with Tuan Andrew Nguyen
WHEN: Friday, November 3, 2023. doors open at 3:30 p.m., 4:00–5:00 p.m. 
WHERE: Emerson College, Walker Building, Room 202, 120 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 
Free, but registration is required. RSVP for the event.
This program is supported in part by the Harvard University Asia Center

WHAT: Opening Reception, One Day We’ll Go Home
WHEN: Friday, November 3, 2023, 5:00–7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Media Art Gallery, 25 Avery Street, Boston, MA.

WHAT: Live Concert with Julian Saporiti

Experience a multimedia musical performance from No-No Boy (singer Julian Saporiti) as part of the tour for his latest album Empire Electric. This newest release brings Asian American history to life through a uniquely inventive approach to storytelling. 
WHEN: Saturday, November 4, 2023, 6:00–7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Pao Arts Center, 99 Albany Street, Boston, MA, 02111
This program is organized by the PAO Art Center and supported by Emerson Contemporary.

WHAT: Live Performance, Passage (2023) by Patricia Nguyễn and Fiona

A work of experimental sound and movement, Passage explores how beauty and creativity emerge in the aftermath of war. The artists meditate upon the various thresholds and movements that happen for displaced peoples across the time and space of memory, everyday encounters of state violence, forced migration, and queer worldmaking.
WHEN: Tuesday, November 14, 2023, 5:00–6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Media Art Gallery
Free and open to the public    

WHAT: Vietnam and Diasporic Aesthetics: Two Meditations. A conversation with Dr. Howie J. Tam & Dr. Catherine H. Nguyen

The first event in the Writing, Literature & Publishing Scholar Series, this program is presented in conjunction with One Day We’ll Go Home and supported in part by the Harvard University Asia Center. Taking as a point of departure some works of Vietnamese American artistic production both in the gallery space and beyond, this two-part talk with Catherine H. Nguyen (Emerson College) and Howie Tam (Brandeis University) explores different approaches of receiving and encountering artworks and engages diasporic aesthetics that grapples with the legacy of the Vietnam War and its enduring questions about creation and memory.
WHEN: Thursday, December 7, 2023, 5:00–6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Media Art Gallery, 25 Avery St. Boston, MA
This program is supported by Department of Writing, Literature & Publishing, Scholar Series, Southeast Asia Programs, Harvard University Asia Center and Emerson Contemporary.

Tiffany Chung, If Water Has Memories, 2022

About the Artists

Tiffany Chung is a multi-talented creator, expressing her ideas across a broad range of media. She is noted for her cartographic drawings, sculptures, videos, photographs, and theater performances that examine conflict, migration, displacement, urban progress and transformation in relation to history and cultural memory. One of Vietnam’s most respected and internationally active contemporary artists, she recently presented a major public commission on Washington DC Mall. Her major solo exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue (March – September 2019), was organized as a response to the museum’s groundbreaking group show, Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975. In 2019, Tyler Rollins Fine Art presented passage of time, a solo exhibition by Chung.

Brandon Tho Harris is an interdisciplinary artist and arts professional based in Brooklyn, New York. His creative practice explores his identity as a child of war refugees. Through intensive research on the Vietnamese diaspora in relation to his family history, he examines notions of intergenerational trauma, displacement, and the land as a living archive. Found in his work are often self-portraiture, his family archives, found objects, raw materials, and historical images portraying the Vietnam war. Through the use of photography, video, performance, and installation, he provides viewers with a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding migration.

Harris’ work has been featured in exhibitions and projects at McNay Art Museum (2022), Asia Society Texas (2021), Houston Center for Photography (2020), and the Blaffer Art Museum (2019). His projects have been funded through grants from The Idea Fund and Houston Art Alliance. He has participated in lectures and presentations at Yale University and Rice University, among others. He received his BFA in Photography and Digital Media from the University of Houston and is the Manager of Engagement and Communications at FotoFest.

Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn’s practice explores the power of memory and its potential to act as a form of political resistance. His practice is fueled by research and a commitment to communities that have faced traumas caused by colonialism, war, and displacement. Through his continuous attempts to engage with vanishing or vanquished historical memory, Nguyễn investigates the erasures that the colonial project has brought to bear on certain parts of the world. Through collaborative endeavors with various communities throughout the world, Nguyen sets out to cultivate and empower these strategies enacted and embodied by his collaborators. Through this collaborative practice, he explores memory as a form of resistance and empowerment, emphasizing the power of storytelling as a means for healing, empathy and solidarity. 

Patricia Nguyễn is an artist, educator, and scholar born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies and an Assistant Professor in Asian American Studies and Council for Race and Ethnic Studies at Northwestern University, where she received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies. She is also a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans. Her research and performance work examines critical refugee studies, political economy, forced migration, oral histories, inherited trauma, torture, and nation building in the United States and Vietnam. 

As a performance artist, she has performed at the Nha San Collective in Vietnam, Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco, Jane Addams Hull House, Oberlin College, Northwestern University, University of Massachusetts Boston, Links Hall, Prague Quadrennial, Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Chile, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She is co-founder and executive director of Axis Lab, a community centered art, food, and design studio based in Uptown, Chicago that focuses on inclusive and equitable development for the Southeast Asian community.

About Emerson Contemporary

Emerson Contemporary is the College’s platform for showcasing contemporary visual art. It is focused on presenting living artists, their ideas, experiments and creative practices in the areas of media art, performance art and emergent technologies, while critically examining these works in their social context. Dr. Leonie Bradbury is Emerson Contemporary’s Distinguished Curator-in-Residence and the Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art Theory and Practice.

About the College

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has approximately 4,161 undergraduates and 554 graduate students from across the United States and nearly 70 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs at Emerson Los Angeles, located in Hollywood, and at its 14th-century castle, in the Netherlands. Additionally, there are opportunities to study in Washington, DC, London, China, and the Czech Republic, Spain, Austria, Greece, France, Ireland, Mexico, Cuba, England, and South Africa. The College has an active network of 51,000+ alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit

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