Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Tapestry of Memories: The Art of Dinh Q. Lê

Yesterday my husband and I sought out the Tisch Gallery at Tufts University, another gem hidden just a stone throw from where we run our errands. We stumbled on the exhibit "A Tapestery of Memories" by Dinh Q. Le.Le's work combines traditional textile techniques with large-scale photo-images. His subjects are war and memory. Huge reproductions of iconic photos, from famous news stills to movie stars, interlace with personal and traditional images. Each piece demands that you stop and try to sort the emerging/disappearing pictures; as you do, feelings surface: shock, sorrow, bottomless loss.

Two pieces are white on white embroidery: huge outlines of individual refugees. They document, or perhaps honor, women who have lost their eyesight because of the atrocities they witnessed. A card invites the viewer to touch the images. Le's goal is for the images to emerge as viewers hands darken the images: witnessing by touching.

The piece that knocked me over, though, was a "quilt" of photos, big as a gallery wall and suspended across the room. Le bought bags of old photos and postcards when he returned to Vietnam, at first hoping to find images of his own family. I can't do justice to it here. Click on the link and see for yourself. Be sure to read the artist's statement. And note: his aunt stitched the pieces together. I wish there was an artist's statement from her, too

Tisch Gallery
Exhibition: 29 Jan-28 Feb 2009
Tufts University Art Gallery, Tisch Gallery
Medford, MA
617-627-3518 f: 617-627-3121 e:


paperdollsforboys said...

When I read things like this I realize how much is happening all around me, SO close to me, that I have no idea about. How did I not know about this?

Thank you for posting, I will check it out! Do you think it's appropriate for kids too? Any graphic war imagery? And also, what should I make for dinner?

Linda B. Dunn said...

We found out about the museum from a recent Globe essay "Hidden Gems" that said just the same thing.

Dinner is always a puzzle to me. However, contemplating diaspora makes one appreciate it more.

As for kids, I think 10+ could handle it, but avoid the movie room where clips of Platoon are running. Just tell them the movie's already started and you can't go in.

The news images are hard to see, so I'm not sure what a kid pick up on. But I do think the sad vibrations would come through.