We’re Still Here

Thinh Nguyen



The story takes place in Duong Noi village in the midst of rampant urbanization. Indigenous cultures are brutally bought and oppressed, paddy fields stolen and then filled with layers of cement. In but a few months, upscale apartments mushroomed. New residents start moving in while knowing nothing of past lives and memories. Many farmers have struggled to claim back their land, among which 7 of them have gone to prison. The rest is yet to give up.

This series portray how villagers connect with their formal home that now only exists in their memories. Emotional loss is much greater than material loss. During the merciless process of gentrification, they have lost their connection to nature, longstanding customs and rituals, relationships and knowledge. They are now learning to cope with dispossession, to stand together and to distrust.


Thinh Nguyen used to be an abstract painter from 2002 to 2015, following his instincts to live and paint. He shifted his focus to social issues in 2016 when realizing that the society he lived in was nothing like what was taught in school. Since then, painting no longer felt like a fitting medium. Thinh has been experimenting with photography, moving image, installation and performance, to touch on issues concealed by the government. He has made work about Vietnamese activists, refugees, death row inmates and oppressed people, through which he tries to understand the operation of his society and the boundaries of rights and fear.