Waimea Artist Featured in National Exhibition

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Lost in Flowers, an oil painting by Vietnamese immigrant Thu Nguyen, was selected for a national exhibition at d’Art Center in Norfolk, Virginia. PC: d’Art Center

Thu Nguyen was born in Vietnam and now lives in Waimea, but between one place and the other she’s become an artist of the world.

A recent exhibition highlighted the her literal journey through the art world, as Nguyen’s oil painting Lost in Flowers was selected for a national exhibition at d’Art Center in Norfolk, Virginia.

The center hosted its opening reception for Strive, a National Exhibition Highlighting American Immigration and the American Dream in its main gallery on the evening of Thursday July 25, 2019.


“I came here as an orphan and I am now living the American dream,” said Nguyen, who immigrated to the US in 1975 following the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War. “I remembered as a child, I used to watch my uncle (paint) and (wished) to become a painter. … Thank you to America for giving me a home and (helping me) to do what I love.”

Ngyuen, whose Waimea-based studio describes her artistic focus as portraiture and figure, said the painting selected for the show was inspired by ancient Chinese works.

“I created this new series of paintings with gold leaf background (and) Chinese calligraphy,” she continued.


Strive contacted artists in 30 states across the country soliciting 236 submissions for the show, according to a d’Art Center press release. The exhibition was curated by d’Art staff and juried by Solomon Isekeije, the head of Norfolk State University’s Art Department.

From the pool of pieces, 38 works from 36 artists representing 17 states were selected for the show, including one from Hawai‘i—Nguyen’s painting.

“The vision was to curate a national show that highlighted the topic of immigration and the pursuit of the American dream that gave both artists and immigrants a chance to exhibit the topic in an expressive way,” said Amanda Bradley, gallery, graphics and communications manager for d’Art Center. “The span of submissions of different artistic mediums and high-quality work from all over the country was stunning.”


Nguyen’s work will remain on display at the Strive exhibition through Aug. 31, 2019, at d’Art Center, located at 740 Duke Street, Suite 150, in Norfolk.

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