Ngẫu cảm (Spontaneous Feelings), 2017

Cotton, thread

66,5cm x 93,5cm

The embroidery “Spontaneous feelings” depicts the bare and simple grave of emperor Bao Dai (1913-1997) in France. None of Bao Dai’s descendants still live in Vietnam. Their absence is a metonym for what’s missing in a society striving to eradicate class differences: a person’s place is not determined by their bloodline; everyone is equal. But is this really so? Probably not, a small number are always more equal than others. “A grandfather’s son, a father’s grandson (Con ông cháu cha)” is a sarcastic phrase used to describe people who receive more benefits than others simply because of their family background. This goes to show contemporary society still differentiates between classes. Perhaps, the only difference is that these different classes mix and mingle more. The mosaic tomb resembles a scenic landscape – a consolation from Tran Chau to the emperor who was no longer shrouded in gold and silver at the end of his life. It also embodies the artist’s concern about what was buried, regardless of whether it was naturally under the course of time or deliberately by man’s hands.

Text by Tra Nguyen.