Dakota Nguyen

Coming Back Home, From Mind to Hand

Coming Back Home, From Mind to Hand ​exists as a physical slice of nostalgic memory, encapsulating my experience growing up in Vietnam when its culture was slowly integrated with western influences.

The premise of the work calls to the tension between my ethnic background and my westernized upbringing. I was born in Vietnam shortly before the country partook in the globalization process. My childhood witnessed what was perhaps the remnants of the “authentic” Vietnamese culture, and my early years of life were gradually influenced by western media. I was speaking another language more often than my mother tongue and identifying with western values more than those of my own culture. Before I even realized, I was mentally distanced from the place I was born and raised in, and now physically, as I moved to Canada in my teenage years. Though living in a place where its values align with my own seems to make sense, home will always feel like the other side of the globe and my ethnic identity continues to inform the way I create.

This installation is my attempt to reconnect with my Vietnamese background. Through recreating a feel of the domestic space manifested by the memories of my childhood using materials from the west, I was able to mend the relationship with my ethnic identity and relieve the tension between different cultural values. The process of making and building each piece by hand from the memory of what I grew up seeing and experiencing is, in itself, me coming home - from mind, to hand.