Although Vietnam is a patriarchal society, like most east Asian countries women are strong and significant figures in all facets of the community. From street food stalls, to households, to local businesses, to international firms – the face most see may be male, but almost always behind the scenes a powerful woman is making important decisions.
This quiet, unassuming strength influences all Vietnamese. In contemporary spaces and artistic circles this power is filtering down and enabling women in all disciplines to seek their own platform to express themselves. I’d like to share with you some of the names that bring out that feminine strength and represent it in the experimental art community in Hanoi.
I first encountered the alternative scene in Hanoi at Zone 9 in 2013. It was probably the most exciting development of the city – it came at a time when we all hungered for a space that could nurture young and local creativity. In its short life, this space had shown people how vibrant the art and cultural scene of Hanoi could be. It was very inspiring for a lot of those who had the opportunity to experience it and definitely created important momentum for the community. Other important spaces that host alternative arts are Nha San Studio (sadly, inactive), DeN (sadly, closed), Heritage Space, REC Room (not active), Hanoi Social Club and Manzi.