Opening: Thurs 03 Dec 2020
Exhibition: 03 Dec 2020 – 09 Jan 2021
Unit B6.17 & B6.16
132 Bến Vân Đồn, Ward 6, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City
From the organizer:
Despite the provocativeness, what the question “Am I Superwoman?” really calls for is not a straightforward answer, but an invitation to peer into the complex, mythical construct of feminine roles.
In one aspect, the exhibition retrospectively analyses the portrayal of Vietnamese female figures in Vietnamese Socialist idealism according to the Ba đảm đang virtues (‘dutiful Home-maker, Worker, and Fighter); and in the other, introspectively delves into the intimate interpretations of femininity by contemporary female artists. The artists’ multidisciplinary works serve to explore woman sacrifice, to redefine individualistic feminine values, and examine the outsiders’ gaze on the female body. Bringing the two together allows a comparative reflection between myth and reality, collective idealism and personal characters concerning female roles.
One prominent feature of the show is historical propaganda posters, a popular medium for the Vietnamese government to promote the “good ways of life”. Through the years, they have served to instill an ideology of femininity by means of pre-existing sociological structures. Throughout the exhibit, selected posters present the Ba đảm đang women in pursuit of the ideal life. They project the female body often as mysterious, young, voluptuous and robust, despite the most arduous circumstances. In them, we see the manifestation of an “organized myth” which combines deep-rooted Confucian teaching of Tam Tòng Tứ Đức for every “good woman” in Vietnamese traditions, which helps make it so powerful a concept that it penetrates every corner of mass consciousness and becomes reality. Modern time in Vietnam has emancipated women in various measures, but does the Ba đảm đang ghost ever stop haunting?
In response to these questions, the contemporary artworks of the female artists display their own realities and distinctive beliefs. Notably, their works are far from discrediting the virtue of innate sacrifice and love of a woman for her immediate family and other human beings, but to make way for personal deliberation that such love is an unconditional choice, not an obligation.
“Am I Superwoman?” also invites the viewers to take part and continue this female narrative in the present context: Has time changed, or is it still an on-going negotiation with the past as we move towards the future?
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