I can’t wait for you to grow
3 February 2024 - 7 April 2024
Artist(s): Adrian Jing Song and Phương Lê
Location: Boadle Hall
This exhibition by artists Adrian Jing Song and Phương Lê delves into hidden family histories through a collaborative exploration of photography, installation, and artist books. Both raised in Southeast Asian households, their artworks explore themes of ‘the unspoken’ and ‘the withheld’ inherent within their diasporic families.
For Phương, the rediscovery of an old family photo album is a journey of self-discovery, as he grapples with the expectations of his queer identity and co-existing within a Vietnamese-Australian cultural context. His exploration leads to unexpected family reunions and visits to his grandfather's village, bringing to light the importance of knowing where you come from.
Adrian’s artwork also focuses on the archive of the family album, presenting it as an indecipherable mystery that can never reveal the full story.
Through their exhibition, the artists invite viewers to engage with a sense of 'not knowing.' While the photographs offer context and possible explanations, they deliberately withhold closure, fostering a space for interpretation and possibility.
Phuong Nguyen Le (b. 2002) is a Vietnamese emerging artist studying in Naarm (Melbourne). Through his photographic practice, he focuses on themes of collective identity, family, sexuality, and decolonisation. This brings Phuong to unpack his positionality in an ongoing colonial structure, one that persists across the Asia-Pacific region through forms of discriminatory violence, censorship, and cultural-political division.
Phuong is currently interested in exploring the occupying space between documentary and art photography with projects that concern his surrounding communities. He hopes to further expand his research and practice in collaboration with emerging Vietnamese and South East Asian art and photography voices.
Adrian Song lives and works in Naarm (Melbourne), on the unceded land of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nation.
Artist Book Workshop
Saturday, 16 March, 1-3pm
$25—tickets via website
Learn how to create your own artist book in this practical workshop with artists Adrian Jing Song and Phương Lê. They will explore themes applied in their own books on queering Southeast Asian identity and uncovering secrets from the family archive. From conception to printing, participants will be introduced to low-cost self-publishing methods and how to edit, sequence, and bind books by hand.
Participants are encouraged to bring their own source materials to incorporate into their artist books. Suitable items include small paintings, drawings, printed photographs, texts, collage and embroidery. All other tools and materials will be provided. This workshop is for adults only.