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VSA show aims to increase visibility of Vietnam’s culture

‘Timeless: Past, Present, and Future’ to highlight Vietnamese fashion, dance, history

Past, present and future of Vietnam’s rich traditions will collide at the Brown Vietnamese Student Association’s cultural show, “Timeless,” Friday evening. An array of artists will draw on both fashion and dance to celebrate the country’s history and culture. As VSA celebrates its 25th anniversary, the event aims to draw attention to the club’s presence on campus and explore  Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American identities.

The club has seen ups and downs over its 25 years on campus, continually expanding in both membership and campus presence, said Vi Mai ’17, one of the event’s organizers and a former Herald contributing writer. “Timeless” marks the first culture show that VSA has put together in two years, she added.

A fashion show by Fashion4Freedom, a nonprofit organization that advocates ethics in apparel manufacturing and aims to foster small craft businesses in central Vietnam, will kick off the event, Mai said. Fashion4Freedom’s head designer, LanVy Nguyen, will showcase her new line and give a speech shedding light on the group’s mission, Mai said.

The organization highlights the intersection between fashion and social responsibility, said Mary Nguyen ’17, another event organizer.

As the event’s name suggests, “Timeless: Past, Present and Future” will fuse history with contemporary issues and art forms.

Both Brown and Northeastern University’s Vietnamese Student Associations will perform at the event, encouraging collaboration between schools. Though the dances recall traditional Vietnamese styles, they add a contemporary flare, Nguyen said. The evening will also feature Vietnamese spoken word performances by students.

“All the performers play a part in reiterating what the history of Vietnam is, in informing the audience and making them understand who we are,” said Brandon Le ’18, a member of the VSA’s logistics committee tasked with planning the event.

The show will also highlight documents that outline the history of Vietnamese migration in America, as well as current information on the VSA, Mai said. “We want to tell the story of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans.”

VSA aims to highlight Vietnamese culture, which tends to be little-known beyond the momentous Vietnam War, Mary Nguyen said. “I hope people can get a better sense of the diverse meaning of being Vietnamese,” she said.

“There’s not that many Vietnamese students at Brown, and oftentimes coming here we feel isolated because we’re far away from our families,” Mai said. The club aims to foster a family setting on campus that celebrates Vietnamese identity, she added.

The club also shares Vietnam’s cultural and historical heritage among its members, adding an intellectual dimension to the social group, Mary Nguyen said. Through “Timeless,” VSA hopes to draw attention to a relatively small group on campus, springboarding the club toward larger membership and events of a  bigger scale, Mai said.


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