Duat Vu

Region: Midwest

I am a first generation Vietnamese immigrant. My family was part of the wave of ‘boat people’ that escaped Vietnam after the war. The trip was a near-death experience. I was seven years old at the time.

I grew up in the west (Toronto, Canada), but I do not feel totally a westerner. My family was very traditional. Yet, neither do I feel fully Vietnamese.

My works express the conflicting emotions of these experiences: the feelings of isolation and displacement as a result of dual cultural influences; the ups and downs of cultural assimilation for a first generation child immigrant; and last, but not least, it is an attempt to make sense of the lasting psychological effects of the near-death experience and the Vietnam War. It was the war of my father’s generation, my childhood - a generational tragedy that still reverberates beneath my outlook on human existence.