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The Lucky Ones

The Lucky Ones represents the dynamics of Vietnamese Canadian families who experienced both extreme adversity and privilege as survivors of the 'boat people' refugee crisis.

I explore how this conflict expresses itself between the first and second generations as a tension between the desire to be open and honest about the challenges and a cultural expectation to keep them secret.


The inspiration for this project came in 2021 at a family member's funeral service where I was surrounded by hundreds of familiar-looking strangers. Sensing the lifetimes of sacrifice and burden around me set off a level of guilt and shame so overwhelming that it led me to try to understand it through art.  I created these works to reach out to the many Canadians born to refugees who might feel the same way.

This project debuted at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada, in the exhibit Crossing: Art, Heritage and Personal Journey in February 2024 and is on view until May 26, 2024.

I wish to thank The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation for its financial support

I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

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