Last night I attended Rae & Bennett Gallery’s first exhibition of the year. Phuong Ngo's 'After Action Review' is an exhibition which consists of a video and a series of Vietnam War images displayed in light boxes. The video was made by the artist. The selected images came from scanned slides which once belonged to an American soldier who worked along the DMZ during the war. The images document various activities or scenes around the area. I chatted with Ngo who mentioned he started to collect Vietnam War slides, known as his Vietnam Archive Project, which has turned into an obsession to reclaim his history. This exhibition is the first series derived from the Vietnam Archive project.
Being half Vietnamese, I was drawn to this exhibition for its content. In spite of the striking difference between our respective parents’ experiences with the Vietnam war, Ngo and I had one thing in common: understanding where we came from. Ngo’s other series revolve around self, identity, and culture and are worth checking out on his website. Overall, I found the exhibition interesting for the use of archival material as part of a personal ongoing project.