Exhibition: Hop Dac, 'Swarm'
"Earlier in the year I went back to WA with my two daughters to visit family that I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic. Most of that time was spent in my hometown of Geraldton. By a miracle of excellent timing the trip coincided with my dad’s 73rd birthday party and Tet, Lunar New Year. Both events were attended by many of my parents’ old friends, people I’ve known since primary school – when Vietnamese refugees swarmed into the town. I realised I hadn’t been in such a large group of Viet since the last time I was home.
We went to the beach a lot, I attended mass civilly, and the girls played video games and ate pizza with their Uncle Loc in the fibro house he’s fixing up. I enjoyed seeing the fibro houses in and around town, some of them painted blue or pink or yellow. I also caught up with my years 4 and 5 teacher, Mr Friday, who helped instil a love of books in me. At the Tet party I told him that I thought about him often and when he asked why I gestured around the room and said, ‘because when we first arrived, teachers were a bridge for kids like me. They helped us to feel normal.’
The trip reminded me of when my home, and community, was there, during those uneasy years when we began to make Australia home. Most of these pictures are inspired by that time."