Artist: Tiffany Le
Exhibition: Tàu / TaWJ / N. Boat, Ship, Vessel, Craft
Media: canvas, relief print, LED candles, watercolor, acrylics, charcoal
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dutzi Gallery
This week, I had the wonderful opportunity of speaking with artist Tiffany Le. Tiffany is a graduate student here at CSULB set to graduate this semester and receive her MFA. She was born and raised in Garden Grove, California. Tiffany has been doing art since she was just 3 years old. Her mother said she would find her copying the images off of cereal boxes, and she has been creating art ever since she could remember. Tiffany’s art has a huge level of depth to it, seeing that her inspiration has come from her ancestor’s and relative’s personal endeavors.
Tiffany’s exhibit was very interesting. When you walked in, there was a 3-dimensional paper boat on the floor surrounded by smaller paper boats. They were each lit up with LED candles, giving depth and dimension to her work.
On the walls of the gallery, there were several images of boats in water, some on fire, some in storms, some capsized. The colors that she used were darker and warmer colors, possibly symbolizing the dark and cumbersome mood of the message behind her work.
Tiffany’s inspiration behind her work is extremely deep and personal. Her family escaped from Vietnam during the war, and she recently began speaking to them about it. They would not tell her much, but she insisted to find out more. Tiffany explained that the Vietnamese refugee struggles tend to be covered up and are not often shared with the Tiffany’s second generation. She told us the story of how her father and her aunt managed to escape, and it was not easy. Her father attempted 6 times to get on a boat to America, and the 7th time was successful, but barely. Tiffany explained that since there was a lot of controversy and shame surrounding the Vietnam War, a lot of the major struggles from the refugees were censored and covered up. She is trying to bring to light the struggles that so many people went through to save their families, and to bring back individuality and realness to their stories and journeys.
Tiffany Le’s exhibit really resonated with me, especially because of a similar situation going on right now with the Syrian refugees. Their land has been devastated by war, and they are simply seeking a better and safer life for their families, just like Tiffany’s family did along with thousands of other Vietnamese refugees. I think it is absolutely insane for some people in this country to believe we should deny these families who have been forced to flee their homes a place to seek refuge here. If Tiffany’s family had been denied to come to America, we might not have been able to experience her amazing artwork today. Overall, Tiffany Le’s exhibition was incredibly thought-provoking and powerful.