I came to the United States as a refugee from Viet Nam in 1975. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Currently, I’m an employee of the Berkeley Public Library, and I’ve been with the BPL for twelve years. As a child growing up in Viet Nam, I learned paper folding when I was about ten, and now I often incorporated it into my artwork using mostly recycled materials. I sometimes show and teach origami to adults and children in the city that I live and work, I hope to introduce and inpire people this simple toy-making art form. Experienced in working with the public at the library gives me a great opportunity to introduce, connect, and spread this simple art – all you need is a small recycled square sheet of paper. After a few folds, you’d transform this paper into a beautiful toy in the shape of an animal, fan, plane, flower and an endless other forms.
My coworkers at BPL gave me the nickname “Recycling Queen” and I carry it like a badge of honor through my art. I often use recycled materials, especially papers and would love to spread this recycling message to others – you don’t need fancy and expensive materials to make an interesting and beautiful artwork – just look around your environment.
I’d love to see more permanent artworks in all cities’ public places that reflects the diversity of the cities. Most of us are immigrants from a distant land and we often bring and introduce to this new land our art, game, food, costume and culture heritage. These are important parts of who we are and the more we know the better to bridge the gap of misunderstanding and ignorance about one another. And what’s a better way to show that other than in public parks and buildings through art?