Michelle Nguyen | Prayer for Safe Passage

Michelle Nguyen | Prayer for Safe Passage
July 9-23, 2022 
Opening Saturday, July 9, 1-3 PM, Artist in Attendance
340 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Bau-Xi Gallery is pleased to present a new body of work by Vancouver-based artist Michelle Nguyen in the solo exhibition, Prayers for Safe Passage.
“All that you touch, You Change. All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.” — Octavia Butler, The Parable of the Sower

The title Prayer for Safe Passage indicates that a tumultuous journey has begun. It is not a journey one has willingly chosen to take, rather, one is violently tossed into a new reality. Ahead, the future is shrouded with uncertainty but there is no option to turn back. In these moments, one can find oneself turning to ritual and faith. In a world that does not subscribe to Cartesian coordinates or Enlightenment notions of rationality, one still looks to create order and meaning. Myth and spiritual structure are not just methods of coping but also a biological human need.

In her newest collection of paintings, Nguyen looks to explore how ritual and myth can simultaneously harbour and maim us. It can provide provisions for a depleted spirit, as well as a powerful method of bequeathing valuable ancestral knowledge. And yet, many of the quantitative forms of record keeping have a history rooted in violence and dehumanization. The nuance details of human life, often erased by a desire to mythologize. Our need to fit everything and everyone into archetypes and a monomythical story structure encourages us to limited ourselves to binaries, cause us to alienate those who do not fit our skewed and impossible ideals.

The show looks to call attention to the responsibility and stewardship we have to our own histories, and how we choose to record them. It is to serve as a reminder that fear can be inherited and a space can be wounded the way flesh can. We are all more than we are in this given moment, for it took many people across various timelines and histories to make us.

Born in Toronto and of Vietnamese descent, Nguyen lives and works in Vancouver after having received her undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia in 2016. Her work has been featured in publications such as NUVO Magazine, and Vancouver’s Mural Festival, she has been hosted in Centre Pompadour Residency in France.


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