2017 / Film, writing, and visual research from residency with The British Council / With kind contribution from ethnic minority women living in rural Vietnam / collaboration with Grace Crannis / Exhibited at ON THE LINE, The Aram Gallery
The Black H’mong women were among the most extrovert people I have ever met. Ms Gia, who invited local women to her place to show us how they made hemp fibres and embroidered clothing, was a force to be reckoned with. Gia couldn’t have been bigger than 5 feet tall, seemingly too small to fit all of what she’d seen and all of who she was inside. Gia and the local women talked about sex and ex -romances whilst pounding hemp and spinning it to make fibres as they sat around in casual clusters. Sometimes a line of baby chicks would stroll in or a row of children would run and weave in between the legs of the women whilst they worked on handicraft. At one point Gia broke into song whilst they embroidered, inspiring one of the smallest kids to perform a play-dance routine in the middle of them as they worked intensely. In Lao Chai, work and life are the same thing. It’s an environment where you don’t have to have a phone voice. Or be afraid of your boss. Where a days work isn’t a day of clocking off from being you.