The Specter of Ancestors Becoming

Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s four-channel video installation titled The Specter of Ancestors Becoming explores a little-known aspect of colonial history: the stories of love and separation experienced by hundreds of Vietnamese women and Senegalese soldiers, or tirailleurs, enlisted in the French army in Indochina during the first half of the twentieth century. The maternal figure is at the heart of this polyphonic and intergenerational co-creation conceived by Tuan Andrew Nguyen that seeks not to reconstitute history, but to work together toward creating a counter-history. One by one, members of the Vietnamese-Senegalese community of Dakar read a series of fictional conversations with or between their parents and grandparents, while others play the role of ancestors. In counterpoint to this narration appear contextual archival images that are progressively replaced by family portraits.

Exhibition leaflet containing texts in accessible language.

Exhibition produced in partnership with VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine.

Exhibited Artists