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Date of Exhibition


Title of Exhibition

Prograde & Retrograde

Artist Statement

Within my conceptual framework, I investigate

my cultural identity and familial background by

connecting with my family’s culture, religion, history,

and language. Through my installation piece, I recreate

an environment that possesses traces of my family’s

past to demonstrate how Vietnamese culture and

values are transferred, maintained, and practiced in

contemporary U.S.

Type of Work

Mix Media

Short Description

Through found objects and familial artifacts, my

current work focuses on constructing a family

dining room to signify how family meals establish

cultural traditions that can extend from generation to

generation. Family dinners are key to building culture

because each member can connect, communicate,

and share their unique backgrounds. I better

understood fragments of my family’s experiences

in Vietnam as well as their difficulties adapting to

America thanks to their stories. To construct my

dining space, I transferred personal artifacts from my

home to the new installation space. Then, I replicated

my mother’s cooking through appropriating found

objects. Using text, the “noodles” and “ice cubes”

became an important conversational narrative that

provided notions of identity, culture, and memory.

Unlike my mother’s method of cooking, preparing

my own “fake” meals provided a unique perspective

of the preparation process and a familiar sense of

childhood nostalgia. By presenting personal recorded

conversations with my family along with historical

photographs I make the audience feel as if though

they are a part of the work, welcoming them into the

space. Because I have not fully experienced Vietnam,

I project the same feeling of cultural diaspora with the

audience by simulating a unique conversation

and dining tradition.


69.5 in x 29.5 in x 35 in


mixed media installation

Date of Online Publication



Copyright 2022, Tracy Lam. Reproduced with permission. The artists and/or collaborators who contribute to the Rollins College Student Art Gallery and Archive retain the rights to their own works. In making these collection materials available, Rollins College does not grant permission to reproduce or redistribute them, in part or in full. The College does not own the copyright to any of the materials, cannot grant any requests for permission to reproduce them, and will forward reproduction requests to the artists and/or collaborators.


cultural identity, culture, family history, family, installation, Vietnam, Vietnamese culture, meals, family meals, dining, family dinners, cooking, identity, cultural identity, family identity


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