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Photo: Work by Binh Danh



Photo: Work by Binh Danh

Current EventS:

The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network presents a collective of writers and artists elucidating the Vietnamese “feminine”—as touched by war, history, heritage, mythology, and personal experience. This reading gathers the voices and experiences of female descendants and inheritors of the Vietnam War and its refugee exodus.

A Night with MacArthur Fellows Viet Nguyen and An-My Le

This special evening is presented in partnership with the Department Of Asian American Studies, SF State and DVAN

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM PST

SF State Student Life Events Center (1 North State Street)

Tickets are free

In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Third World Liberation Front Student Strike, the Department of Asian American Studies at SF State is pleased to host a "Night with MacArthur Fellows Viet Nguyen and An-My Le."

Prof. Le and Prof. Nguyen will address the development of Vietnamese American Arts and Humanities in relationship to the Asian American movement. Their conversation will take place on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, from 7:00-8:30 pm at the SF State Student Life Events Center (1 North State Street). The event is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


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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.



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.


Troubling Borders

Photo: Work by Reanne Estrada

Troubling Borders

Photo: Work by Reanne Estrada

Troubling Borders

An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora


Bronze Book Award in the Association for Borderlands Studies Best Book Award

Pairing image and text, Troubling Borders showcases creative writing and visual artworks by sixty-one women of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, Thai, and Filipino ancestry. The collection features compelling storytelling that troubles the borders of categorization and reflects the multilayered experience of Southeast Asian women.

The diverse voices featured here have been shaped by colonization, wars, globalization, and militarization. For some of these women on the margins of the margin, crafting and showing their work is a bold act in itself. Their provocative and accessible creations tell unique stories, provide a sharp contrast to familiar stereotypes - Southeast Asian women as exotic sex symbols, dragon ladies, prostitutes, and "bar girls"-and serve as entry points for broader discussions on questions of history, memory, and identity.

This book will have a major impact in multiple fields with an intersectional and nuanced evaluation that brings together race, gender, nation, labor, and migration. Timely, productive, provocative, and incontrovertibly interdisciplinary, it will expand the current purview of Southeast Asian/American literary studies.

-Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, author of War, Genocide, and Justice


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    ANIDA YOEU ALI     Palimpsest for Generation 1.5  3-channel video installation of original performance and installation in December 2009

Palimpsest for Generation 1.5
3-channel video installation of original performance and installation in December 2009

Troubling Borders gathers an amazing number of powerful selections of literary writing and visual art. I am struck by how moving, how political, how diverse these selections are. They bear witness to the hauntings of empire and fill gaps in our understanding of the life and imagination of Southeast Asian women. I am awed by this collection.

Nguyen-vo Thu-huong, author of The Ironies of Freedom


Author Interviews

Photo by Farzana Serang

Author Interviews

Photo by Farzana Serang