Today, it is estimated that the Vietnamese diasporic population in the world comprises around 3,000,000 people, with populations ranging from 10 000 in Poland to about 250,000 people in France. The United States remains the country with the largest Vietnamese diasporic population. The 2010 US Census Bureau estimates that more than half of the total Vietnamese diaspora population across the world reside in the United States. The Bay Area (San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont) and San Jose area (San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara) is the home of about 181,410 Vietnamese people. Despite the high concentration of Vietnamese Americans in the larger Bay Area, there are very few cultural events, which address the history and arts of the community. Until today, less than 50 books and short stories collection by and about Vietnamese Americans have been published by nationally recognized publishers.
The difficulties in finding recognition and venues for works lead to a disconnect between the artists and their intended audience with profound consequences for both the artists’ productivity and the community’s capacity to rebuild their life in a new land. The lack of resources such as writer's workshops, publishing venues and events to showcase and exchange works and ideas prevent artists from building meaningful relationships with the community whose experiences serve as a source of inspiration. The limited access to arts that confront the lingering pain of broken families, communities and social ties as a result of war and migration delay the healing process in the community that could foster positive changes and the relationship to other communities and the society at large.
Fourth SF VIETNAMESE AMERICAN POETRY
The Fourth SF Vietnamese American Literary Festival will highlight the works of emerging and established diasporic Vietnamese writers, including Anhvu Buchanan (The Disordered, 2013), Kim Thuy (Ru, 2009), Bich Minh Nguyen (Pioneer Girl, 2014). Phong Nguyen (Memory, Sickness and Other Stories, 2011), and writer/performance artist Thao P. Nguyen (Fortunate Daughter.) Our special guest will be filmmaker Masahiro Sugano, who will present a short clip from his film featuring Khmer Exiled Americans on the issue of deportation. The festival is hosted by the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, an alliance of artists, writers and academics whose mission is to promote artists from the Vietnamese diaspora who work in literature, visual art, film and performance art. The literary festival is hosted biannually since 2008.
Third SF Vietnamese American Poetry & Art Festival
DVAN and the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) presented the Third San Francisco Vietnamese American Poetry & Art Festival, a premiere showcase for Vietnamese American writers and artists. The event was scheduled for Saturday, April 28 at the African American Arts and Culture Complex from 7-9 pm.
Hosted by Andrew Lam (NPR commentator), the festival features nationally recognized writers and artists from around the United States. They include spoken word artists Bao Phi (National Poetry Slam finalist), Fong Tran and Sahra Vang Nguyen; legendary poet Nguyen Do with Paul Hoover, and famed writers Andrew Pham (“Catfish and Mandala”) and Aimee Phan (“We Should Never Meet”). Bao Phi read from his new book of poem Song I Sing and Aimee Phan from her new novel The Reeducation of Cherry Truong. The program concluded with a performance by Cai Luong artist Quang Chanh. A reception followed the reading featuring artworks by Binh Danh, Christine Nguyen, Truong Tran, Mai Trinh and Khoi Nguyen.
Second SF Vietnamese American Poetry Festival
DVAN organized the second San Francisco Vietnamese American Poetry Festival, again as part of the SF International Poetry Festival, in collaboration with the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library (see great pics here). The event took place on April 24 2010 in the Fleet Room of Fort Mason Buidling D. A reception followed at the bookstore in Building C.
Our program included Anh Vu Buchanan, Kim-An Lieberman, Lan Tran, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Andrew Lam and Dao Strom. Viet Nguyen served as emcee. See the flyer here.
First sf Vietnamese Poetry Festival of the Diaspora
DVAN staged its first major event, Vietnamese Poets of the Diaspora, as part of the San Francisco International Poetry Festival. This highly successful event featured poets Mong Lan, Anh Hoa, Bao Phi, lê thi diem thúy, Linh Dinh, and Truong Tran, with DVAN’s Executive Director Isabelle Thuy Pelaud as the master of ceremonies.