Moving Perspectives: Lida Abdul and Dinh Q Le

December 6, 2008 – March 1, 2009

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

As part of the year-long series Moving Perspectives that focuses on recent works of video art that provide rich sensory experiences of the many changes taking place in contemporary Asia, works by Lida Abdul and Dinh Q Le are shown continuously. Both artists explore the shifting memory of trauma and the inevitable resilience of life.

  • Lida Abdul (b. 1973, Kabul, Afghanistan): After leaving Afghanistan at the start of Soviet occupation and subsequent years living in India and the West, Abdul currently divides her time between Los Angeles and Kabul, where she has created a series of short performance-based videos staged among the ruins of her homeland. In Bricksellers of Kabul (2006) and her most recent work In Transit (2008), children recycle the detritus of war and turn them into objects for survival and play. For Abdul, children and their imaginative acts embody the simplicity of hope amidst devastation.
  • Dinh Q Le (b. 1968, Ha-Tien, Vietnam): Similarly, Le returned to Vietnam to examine his own memories of wartime within the context of contemporary Vietnamese society. For Le, who grew up in the United States, the Vietnam War is an amalgamation of distant childhood memories, documentary materials, and Hollywood films. In The Farmers and the Helicopters, he focuses on the helicopter, both as a "death machine" and technological dream. Inspired by the actual story of a farmer who attempted to reconstruct his own helicopter, Le uses the multichannel video format to juxtapose contemporary interviews and images of the rural landscape with film footage to reveal more complex narratives surrounding the memory of war in a changing postwar Vietnam.