blue cloth with embroidered map; green stitching representing continents; pink and orange stitching form linear pattern over map

%C2%A9 Courtesy of the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art%2C New York

Reconstructing an exodus history: flight routes from camps and of ODP cases, 2017

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Tiffany Chung’s personal and family history is deeply connected to the Vietnam conflicts of the 20th century. She came to the United States with her family after 1975 in the exodus of refugees, eventually settling in Houston. Over many years, using a wide range of materials, Chung has examined the immigrant experience, the social and political impact of migration, and her father’s war experience. The lines stretching across the large, hand-embroidered map show the flight paths of the South Vietnamese forced to leave after the war, leaving refugee camps in Asia under the direction of the United Nations’ Orderly Departure Program. An estimated two million refugees fled Vietnam after 1975 and into the 1990s (this count expands when accounting for broader migration from the region). She describes her ongoing "Vietnamese Exodus Project" as a quiet protest against "politically driven historical amnesia."

Tiffany Chung’s embroidered map is a stunning object in both its craftsmanship and ability to make dense archival research legible in a compelling and emotionally moving way. The piece brings to light a lesser-known history of the Vietnam War and its aftermath by representing the mass exodus of over half a million refugees from Southeast Asia to the United States and elsewhere between 1980 and 1997. While abstract in its approach, the work makes visible the traumatic displacement of a people, many of whom now call Minneapolis home. As such, this work is an important addition to Mia’s collection, and will surely connect with Mia’s diverse audience in an emotionally impactful way, hopefully cultivating empathy and cross-cultural understanding.

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blue cloth with embroidered map; green stitching representing continents; pink and orange stitching form linear pattern over map

© Courtesy of the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York