McPherson Playhouse Satellite Gallery
27 September 2022 – 6 January 2023
3 Centennial Square, Victoria, BC V8W 1P5
Available for viewing 1 hour before showtimes
Much of my work expresses my own experiences growing up as a Canadian born into a family of Vietnamese refugees. The main purpose of doing so is to bring Asian faces into the mainstream fine art world in ways that are not exotic, magical, or otherwise orientalized and bring attention to the ways in which Canadian identity is formed and guarded that keep racialized Canadians from ever feeling completely ‘Canadian.’
I hope to also draw attention to the way racialized constructions of identity can become a burden to Canadian-born individuals, like me, who are expected to act as an ethnographer of a foreign country they do not know. My public works reflect the ways in which my imagination is constrained by having only second-hand knowledge of Vietnam from my parents, whose teachings were constrained by their own limited understanding of a homeland they left in order to forget. The burden of having to perform a Vietnamese-Canadian identity, as if the hyphen gives each side of this identity equal weight, is something that must be challenged.
The resulting frustration and existential confusion is manifested in my other private works, which often reflect a rejection of something, mostly everything. Depending on my mood.
Chrystal Phan is a second-generation Canadian artist of Vietnamese descent. Working primarily in oil on canvas, her work draws heavily on personal experiences and the ways in which familial, social and cultural influences shape personal identity.
She began taking art lessons at a local atelier in 2017 in her hometown of Victoria, BC and began working as a full time artist in 2020. She is grateful for the support of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. Most recently she was a finalist for the International Boynes Emerging Artist Award for 2022.