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JOURNAL beyond borders

Lan Huong Thi Nguyen

Lan Huong Thi-Nguyen, Lorraine Serena, and Shoko Toma



Lan Huong Thi-Nguyen, Curator

Oh, how “underground” we were. I went through all kinds of paperwork to get an “exit visa” from the communist government and an “entry visa” to the USA and brought all the artworks out by hand.


Big Man, my late husband who was dating me for several years at that time, just laughed to see his woman just run transcontinental without thinking of business or any risk. He looked at the boxes and the way I looked at them, like looking at a diamond. The man who was dealing with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and all the names of that period, loved my crazy energy and he asked “could you leave Saigon and come to San Francisco to live with me?” He did not get the answer until several years later.


Today, I got your message on the day of your anniversary! It made me look back at that Belle Époque of my life and all that I did. We were so happy, weren’t we! Congratulations for your happy anniversary! Also missing the Big Man who shared 25 years of my life! I wish you know how very emotional it is to watch the video clip you posted today in the giant archive of Women Beyond Borders.

It brings me back the memory lane of my career life I had before I had a family. Listening to what I told you that day, the moment we opened the boxes which I smuggled out of that communist country. I was so out of fear of everything because I thought I had to bring the voice of Vietnamese women to the world no matter what when I still could do it.


The Power of Life


The difference between death and life…the immortal still rise from the grave and represent a strong life which is seen everywhere. The freshness of the flowers differs from the quietness of the gray burnt tombstone, the dry and stained pieces of iron and even the spike tunnel where death is always near by.
Flowers still live and rise above all.


To Know People Outside


If I shut the lid tight, can anyone know for sure what it is in the box? The outside of the box is decorated attractively as a person intentionally embellishes their appearance to conceal their inner life. The ancient Vietnamese had a saying, “It is easy to know a man from his appearance, but difficult to recognize his thinking.”




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