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Ngoc Tuyen Dang

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" the case of immigrant women, their most direct experience of the Canadian legal system will likely have been in the immigration process. In the cases of all racial minority women another likely point of contact with Canadian law...through the experiences of relatives and friends, is the police and criminal justice system..."
Nitya Duclos (1993) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Vol.6

Form: Installation comprised of demolition drywall, photo transparencies, found objects, light and shadow
Height 2.35 M X Width1.22 M

Artist’s Statement

My participation in this exhibition has been a welcome challenge for two reasons. First, social phenomena are one of the major themes I am exploring in my art. Secondly, working on the theme of women and the law has afforded me the opportunity to point to some societal changes I would welcome. I have always enjoyed working in collaboration with other artists and professional women, since i believe that interdisciplinary projects are far richer and far more effective than any other type of artistic endeavour.

Researching this project has brought me in contact with people working on social and legal issues. I am grateful for their readiness to make time for me. An important source of inspiration has been an article published in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law in 1993 by Nitya Duclos on the subject of the racial treatment of women. The daily lives of immigrant women in Canada are of profound interest to me. I have found the source of my inspiration in my encounters with some of them who are manual workers and also in an official travel document that i discovered in the walls of my century-old downtown home.

Being part of a visable minority, I empathize with the concerns and the problems of women who are, like me, of foreign origin. Although we live in a land of welcome and promise, many of them have had painful painful experiences in workshops where they were harassed and exploited by their supervisors.

I have chosen the garment industry, an appropriate symbol, in my mind, of the working conditions of many immigrant women and as well of the many women who work for multinationals in developing countries. Sewing to save, sewing to mend, sewing to eat is the harsh reality of many of these women.

An old gyproc panel expresses visually the notions of witnessing and experiencing. A wall brings to mind so many images -- so many things happen between four walls -- be it at home, at the office or at the factory, so many moments of joy, of sadness, of lonliness, of sharing, of violence or of anger.

My work is an ode to the women working in the factories and in their homes. Working "in the shadow", they live in our society's nether regions, isolated by their poverty and weighed down by their heavy pasts.

About the Artisit
Ngoc Tuyen Dang was born in Saigon in 1951 into a South Vietnamese military family. Her childhood was marked by the many conflicts that rocked her country from the 1940s until 1975. She came to Canada in 1972 to continue her studies and has lived here ever since. Her teaching job brings her in close contact with young children in Gatineau. Her art production is mainly autobiographical and evolves around what she has personally seen and witnessed. Ngoc Tuyen Dang is continually fascinated by all aspects of human activity.

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