Tiffany Chung (b. 1969, Đà Nẵng, Viet Nam) excavates a history hidden in plain sight for the past forty-five years.Her subject, the War in Vietnam (1955–75),has achieved a nearly mythic significance in the United States.In Vietnam, “the War”devastated life as it had been known, dividing time into a“before” and “after.”Yet missing from the narratives told by these two sides is the perspective of the South Vietnamese, on whose behalf the Americans entered the War, and for whom Tiffany Chung aims to give voice in Vietnam,Past Is Prologue.
Through her meticulously drawn and stitched maps, emotional interviews, and intensive archival research, Chung explores their experience, from the intimate to the global.She begins with a fine-grained look into one person’s story—that of her father, who fought for the South Vietnamese military during the War; widens out to encompass the stories of former refugees from Vietnam; and pulls out further still to show the global effects of their collective migration in the War’s wake.
The project is personal, stemming from Chung’s own life.After her father spent fourteen years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, Chung’s family immigrated to the United States.She witnessed war, fled her country, and reconstituted her life as an American, first in Los Angeles, and then in Houston where she lives today.The exhibition features Vietnamese voices from American cities—including those from nearby Falls Church, Virginia—who were part of the large-scale immigration that reshaped this country’s culture. Foregrounding stories left out of official histories, Chung reframes the legacies of war.
Vietnam, Past Is Prologue is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975, located on the museum’s third floor.
Please be aware that some videos contain language describing graphic violence.