The American Dream

KV Duong, 2020               

Acrylic, oil & transfer on board 

W30 x H24 x D5cm

KV explores war, migration and the Asian diaspora through his family’s experiences of cultural assimilation in Canada as a minority immigrant family, and his own subset of integration growing up as a gay Asian male.

The American Dream is a mixed media work with acrylics, oil and a unique technique of transferring images (not collage) onto a wooden board surface that requires no framing and is ready to hang. It reflects on the dreams and hopes for a new life in a new place.

“Often, we associate refugees and the migrant crisis with a negative connotation (of course there are many stories of tragedy) but there are also the positive sides to emigration, and I am living proof of this. My eldest aunt and her family were boat refugees in the early 80s. They made it safety to Canada and subsequently sponsored my immediate family over to start a new life.”


Other works by KV Duong:

B'Day acrylic painting on paper by KV DuongCollision No 7 collage painting by KV DuongThrough the Lattice Window painting by KV Duong    Searching For Solace 1 Acrylic on paper by KV Duong

About the artist


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KV DuongArtist: KV Duong

KV Duong (b.1980 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam) is a London-based artist with a practice that spans painting, sculpture, and performance. Duong grew up in Canada to Chinese Vietnamese parents displaced by the Vietnam War. In his work he explores themes of migration and cultural assimilation, through a re-examination of his parents’ and his own experiences. War trauma and integration correlate with the artist’s coming out as a gay Asian man.

KV creates imagined landscapes using various media such as historic Vietnam War images and documentation, his own body painting images, and found objects and materials that have personal significance. He retells a history that has been distorted through media censorship and displaced through passed-on experiences, and in so doing suggests a new psychological reality. The material surface is corrupted—ripped, scratched, painted over—to disrupt any simple representation. The traumatised surface of the final work responds to conflict and the altered effects of the original events of war migration and suppression of speech. In some works, perspective and scale are warped to create a tension between the object and subject relation.

KV is a self-taught artist with a Masters in Structural Engineering. He has contributed to several juried competitions including Derwent Art Prize (2016), Discerning Eye (2020), Royal Cambrian (2021, 2022) & Royal Ulster Academy Open (2021), Barbican Arts Group Trust Open (2021), BBC’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Programme (2019) and Sky Landscape Artist of the Year (2022). Duong presented his first institutional soho exhibition at the Migration Museum earlier in 2022.

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