Hiếu thảo – With Love and Respect

Thi My Lien Nguyen



In the wake of the Vietnam War, Thi My Lien Nguyen’s family fled from Laos to Switzerland in 1979. The Swiss-born Vietnamese enjoyed a pleasant and carefree youth. Nguyen grew up in the 2000s, the new millennium in which globalization brought quotidian trans-culturality and products from all cultural realms of the world to Swiss daily life. Nguyen’s desire to appraise her cultural background grew with the years.

In a calm and respectful way, Nguyen examines the subtle cultural, national and ethnic influences, which mark her life, putting three generations of her Swiss-based family center stage: her grandmother, her mother and finally herself. Nguyen asks her two female ancestors in the motherly line about their concepts of Swiss culture and compares these with her own. She also asks herself which Vietnamese cultural values are important to her, next to her Swiss identity.

Like Nguyen, many descendants of immigrants live within two cultures, that of the homeland and that of the land of immigration. Nguyen’s photographic project offers an insight into the life of a young Swiss Vietnamese living within, with and between two cultures. Based on her selection of images from the family album and her own photos, she shows the development of her own family’s post-migration background.


Thi My Lien Nguyen (1995) is a Swiss-Vietnamese artist based in Switzerland. Her image-making practice, often using ethnographic methods, are focused on issues of identity, migration, diasporas and the communities. She questions mechanisms, dynamics and processes within families and (trans-/cultural) communities.

Nguyen’s interest lie between the fine line of documentary and photographic art. She considers herself a visual storyteller, using different kind of (image-based) medias to convey the story that needs to be told.

She graduated from the University of Applied Science – Art and Design in Lucerne in 2017 and is currently working as freelance photographer, filmmaker, visual strategist and artist.