Vietnamese American multimedia artist Dinh Q. Lê dies at 56

Vietnamese American multimedia artist Dinh Q. Lê dies at 56Vietnamese American multimedia artist Dinh Q. Lê dies at 56
via STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery
Ryan General
April 16, 2024
Dinh Q. Lê, a Vietnamese American artist whose work critiqued the impact of the Vietnam War, has died at the age of 56.
Key points:
  • Lê’s family announced on Facebook that he died after suffering a stroke on April 6. 
  • Lê was known for his photo-weaving technique, blending diverse images to create pieces.
  • His work explored how the Vietnam War shaped Vietnamese identity, memory and experiences of displacement.
The details:
  • As a child, Le witnessed the bombing of his home country by U.S. planes during the Vietnam War. After the fall of Saigon and the Khmer Rouge invasion, his family fled Vietnam in 1978 and eventually settled in Los Angeles
  • In the mid-1990s, Lê moved back to Vietnam permanently. In 2007, he co-founded Sàn Art, a crucial non-profit art space promoting independent creativity in his homeland.
  • Lê’s work often focused on themes of historical erasure, war trauma and the search for belonging. Lê’s woven photographs incorporated war-time imagery, film stills and archival photos that question how history is constructed and remembered.
  • Works like the video installation “The Farmers and the Helicopters” juxtaposed Western portrayals of the Vietnam War with on-the-ground Vietnamese experiences.
  • His widely exhibited art has been featured in major international exhibitions like the Venice Biennale and Documenta.
Art community reactions:
  • News of Lê’s passing has been met with an outpouring of grief and tributes from the international art community.
  • “His willful persistence has been an artistic resistance to the obliteration and erasure of history,” wrote Mori Art Museum Director Kataoka Mami.
  • “We lost an important figure and dear friend who unreservedly championed contemporary art of his kind and from this part of the world,” lamented STPI Creative Workshop and Gallery.
 
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