MyLoan Dinh is a Vietnamese American multidisciplinary artist. Her work draws from the shuffling, cross-cultural entanglements that comprise her experiences as a woman of color and former war refugee. Born in Saigon, she and her family escaped their war-torn country by sea in 1975. After moving through three refugee camps, they were eventually resettled in Boone, NC. She studied visual arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the School of Arts and Design at Wollongong University New South Wales, Australia. She has exhibited internationally and her work can be found in public and private collections in the United States and Europe including the Muhammad Ali Museum and Center (Louisville, KY), Artfields (Lake City, SC), the Mint Museum of Art (Charlotte, NC) and the Imago Mundi Benetton Foundation (Italy). Notable recent accomplishments include: 2023 Arts & Science Council Inaugural Founders Award Grant, 2023 NC Zeitgeist Foundation Biennial Touring Artist, Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington 2022 National Biennial, Artfields 2022 2nd Place Jury Prize, 2020 Arts & Science Council Creative Renewal Fellowship, Knight Foundation Celebrate Charlotte Grant, McColl Center Residency, Community Impact Grant from the Partnership for Democracy, Berlin, Department of Arts and Culture of Berlin Individual Artists grants. She is the founder of an international multidisciplinary arts outreach and migration project, We See Heaven Upside Down. Dinh is a member of the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) and the BBK, Professional Association of Visual Artists, Berlin. She and her husband, Till Schmidt-Rimpler, founder and artistic director of Moving Poets, have creative projects in the USA and Germany.
Project for "The Journey"
Stirred by everyday manifestations of identity, memory, and displacement, I explore the porous boundary between personal and collective history by deconstructing materials, images and objects to (re)construct personal experiences and narratives within the greater cultural context of which I am a part.
I collage the iconic tricolor plaid “migrant bag” with photographs of local contemporary landscapes (Trade and Tryon St., Freedom Park...). The cheap carry-all bag is a symbol of migration with a checkered historical and political past. While recognized for its durability and resilience, the names associated with the bag are often derogatory, describing disavowed working-class immigrant demographics. For example, they’re known as “Ghana Must Go” bags in Nigeria; “Türkenkoffer” (Turkish suitcase) or "Vietnamesenkoffer" (Vietnamese suitcase) in Germany; “Guyanese Samsonite” in the Caribbean; “Bangladeshi bags” in England; “Zimbabwe bags” in South Africa; and “Chinatown totes” or just simply “Immigrant bags” in the United States. With this work, I explore the material cultures of these objects, which are so powerfully imbued with meaning and partially hidden histories of planetary proportions—histories pertaining to class, ethnicity, race and power.
These works were on tour and exhibited across Germany this past summer by the NC Zeitgeist Foundation. They have never been exhibited in Charlotte. This will be the first time a Charlotte audience will see them.