Culture and Arts

Matt Huynh Inks Stories of an Inherited War

A graphic novelist wades into today's refugee debate
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Matt Huynh has a way of drawing outside the lines, having crossed many of them over the course of his life. As an artist who regularly intertwines his graphic work with poetic and fictive narratives, he has inked everything from fashion magazine spreads to the cover of the short-lived Occupied Wall Street Journal. But one of his most ambitious works explores borders within, through the collective memory of Australia’s Vietnamese diaspora.

Calling Ourselves

Ancestral Inheritance, in Translation
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At our family Thanksgivings, where we serve Persian polo khoresht alongside turkey and mashed potatoes, my cousins give one another “American” names. We don’t evoke mythical men and women of the past. We do not think of saints or of ancient Gods. Our emphasis is on the pedestrian. So a Mahmanzar turns into a somewhat ironic Mary Jo and a Cyrus turns into a rather ordinary George. We make fun of our own banality, underscoring that we are not what we sound like, nor what we should look like.

A Stage of the Journey

Border crossers in Calais Blaze a Path through Art
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Today, European ministers are wrangling over arcane international accords somewhere in Brussels, trying to pull the United Kingdom back to the EU’s dysfunctional “family of nations.” Meanwhile, just across the English channel, another family of nations is struggling to hold itself together as European governments--whose modern existence was shaped by a refugee crisis of an earlier era--seek to push the new migrants out of sight and out of mind.


A Message from Favianna Rodriguez

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