Lost and Found

Phuong Ngo

1 Jan 2020

Lost and Found (2020 – ongoing)

Advised by the history of French Colonialism in Vietnam and drawing on The Vietnam Archive Project (2010 – ongoing) as a source of images and materials; Lost and Found (2010-ongoing) is a series of works that uses found photography and global image archives (Google Images, Getty Images, etc.) in order to interrogate the ways in which systems of colonialism, imperialism, and eugenics continue to perverse the ways in which formerly colonised bodies relate to the world at large.

Following the French conquest of South Vietnam in 1862, the Roman Catholic Church established a community and religious services for French colonialists. The first church occupied a Vietnamese pagoda, abandoned during the conquest. This pagoda was eventually replaced by a wooden church, which in turn was replaced by the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, officially Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception.  Established by French colonists who initially named it Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880.

On 15 April 2019, a fire broke out beneath the roof of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral in Paris. By the time it was extinguished, the building’s spire and most of its roof had been destroyed and its upper walls severely damaged; extensive damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed. The outpouring of global grief was immediate and a fundraising campaign following the destruction brought in pledges of over €1 billion within a week.

Taking the above histories as a starting point Lost and Found is an ongoing body of work that seeks to question the ways in which colonial ideologies impacted the way in which people value various cultures and communities.  Planned work in the series will focus on the transportation of culture, hybridity, lateral violence, and post-enlightenment.

Lost and Found presented at:

‘Nostalgia for a Time That Never Was’ – The Substation – Photo 2022

‘This language that is every stone’ – IMA Brisbane, 12 February – 23 April 2022

MAMA – National Photography Prize 2020 – Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA)