Photo Diary

Shuffle 28.03.2020

A little colour for my Maggie 27.03.2020

My PhD continues, between doodles (Girl marking spill with Buddha hand), and revisiting inspiring artist transcripts with some support from my beloved dictionaries. 25.03.2020.

Nguyễn Trinh Thi: Fifth Cinema 

I keep thinking about Nguyễn Trinh Thi’s Fifth Cinema (not Fourth Cinema as previously posted), so am making another post with a few stills. A brave and challenging work, some of the images in this single-channel video are quite disturbing and the gentleness of delivery left me edgy.

Thi combines her own footage with other sources to dialogue personal and collective narratives. She is quoted by Zara Stanhope in the APT9 catalogue as explaining “I’m speaking from the point of view that any one of us can potentially be the oppressed, and the oppressor…I’m interested also in the unknown, the invisible, the inaccessible, in potentialities…”

Inspired by the Vietnam context, but using Maori filmmaker Barry Barclay’s text and thinking from a position of multiple identities, Thi opens up universal connections. The result is a complex and layered work marked by a disjointedness that is provocative and deeply searching, reaching far beyond simplistic readings.

NOTE: First posted on Instagram 13 March 2019; IMAGES: These stills taken by Mai Nguyễn-Long when viewing Nguyễn Trinh Thi’s Fifth Cinema at APT9 (The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art): single-channel video, 57 minutes, colour, sound;  posted here with permission of the artist.

Sóc Trăng 16.05.2018 Farewell Bà Nội

Neighbours: Maggie & Winston

Mai Nguyen-Long

I’m thrilled to discover my Aqua Mutt installation has made an appearance on my Dad’s annual “Long & Kerry” family  Tết greeting this Lunar New Year of the Dog 😊

time to pause

my new language teacher Ly

special places with special friends

the drop

tea with Leah & Michael

wet bird

South Coast commute

University of Wollongong

Bulli back deck: after storm Euphorbia + Sóc Trăng áo dài


The secret altar


>< !!! Happy Vietnamese New Year of the Rooster !!! ><  Chúc Mừng Năm Mới >< An Khang Thịnh Vượng ><

Joyeux Noël: the fire & ice nativity at my parent’s house & the flouro flowering gum on my way home – Merry Christmas!

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…to be reconciled…

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Wheel + kiln = beautiful gift to me by Marilyn Chamberlain 30 Oct 2016; big job transferring them from Seven Hills to Bulli. Thanks to ingenuity of Stuart and assistance from Les and Rick!

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Viva La Gong weekend Thirroul 12 Nov 2016 people watching

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one of my 2010 Doggie Morphs is out to play…for the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation…

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A brief but customarily intense time in Hanoi.  Revisited my 2015 Copyright Agency residency hosts & so excited to take these new works of mine home … thank you 67 Giang Cao Bát Tràng Hà Nội <hot out of the kiln 23.09.16>

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thank you for the kind birthday wishes…

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3 random WA photos + 1 of William Yang on AFD xx ADM

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more from WA

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beaut visit to Margaret River with Stu…a walk in the forest…

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…and the other Rumi quote MAF shared with me:  “Ignore those that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death.”

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MAF shared a Rumi quote with me:  “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes around in another form.”

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Been enjoying WA…& seeing some early works of mine in a private collection: a skewered Twistie Girl + 3×2002 paintings playing on the flooding of Sydney & Australia’s border obsessions.

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FB square x P1010252d2Andrew Christofides opened an exhibition I attended not so long ago.  I enjoyed his speech so much I wish I had recorded it so I could hear it again. He has now curated Visions of Utopia for my local Wollongong Art Gallery: opens Friday Sept 2 with a curator’s talk on Sept 7. The current issue of Artist Profile has a preview by Kon Gouriotis. Looking good Wollongong!

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FB3 AP P1500296looking back – diffusion 2012

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very foggy head cold. tried to buy my Bulli groceries with what i thought was a lucky $100 bill.  not so funny but i couldn’t stop laughing.

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here are my latest thrown vessels waiting to be fired…so i can draw on them! can’t wait!

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i don’t normally like to share ‘progress’ shots; but i’m so excited about this process & can’t wait to sort out a kiln <yes it’s happening>…in the meantime…3d doodles in progress <21 August 2016>

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4cm doggie

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I love William

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Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi 2015

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visited my 2007 work in the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre collection storeroom last week #aquamutt <10 Aug 2016 >

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visited my 2007 work in the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre collection storeroom last week #daggirl <10 Aug 2016 >

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glenfield station

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nature challenge

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me & the bags

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Bulli Trumpet Creeper

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Bubbles and Rose visit Port Kembla

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Jim Cobb kindly sent me a sample pack of Chroma Kidz washable paints. My chill proof Tassie visitors Gabe and Rose helped try them out.  It was great fun and we discovered the colours are really vibrant – and indeed they are washable (Rose was wearing her fav everything pink outfit).

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Fab Beth Crawford and the Illawarra Potters!

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<Đình Chu Quyến Hà Tây 1994>

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the blue house cat

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they were late but they are here now

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stuff: unfinished

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stuff: rats

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blue bird

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Stolen moment >> ‘Wollongong gals’ soaking up a Gong kind of calm <<

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I call these my ‘Aussie’ wares: mesmerized by the idea of the wheel, I took some time out from handbuilding to favour just wheel-forming, a different focus to how I worked in Hanoi; & was curious to check out these fast yummy glazes on offer, a look I would never otherwise have gone for. Had so much fun thanks heaps Simon Reece + assistant Remy Pajaczkowski-Russell = fantastic opportunity >NAS rocks<… & thank you of course to Michael Keighery: I’m so excited about the next ‘unknown’ – bringing it all together <aaahh ‘beginners bliss’>…

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Thinking of Michael Keighery’s Dead Man’s Penny

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vomit girl & her vomit friends in april

vomit girl & her vomit friends in april

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Aqua Mutt always smiles, no matter what; this hopeful little mongrel paid me an unexpected visit this month, showering me in earnest yearnings of orange and blue.

Aqua Mutt always smiles, no matter what; this little mongrel recently paid me a surprise visit, showering me with earnest yearnings in orange and blue.

Early Easter Bunny Sighting in Bulli

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Sorry I Accidentally Ate Your Easter Egg

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24 Feb 2016

Floating forever in this life, we are just wondering visitors
When the day ends, our home is still thousands of miles away
Lênh đênh làm khách phong trần mãi
Ngày hết quê xa vạn dặm trường

<From a poem by monk King Trần Thái Tông 1225-1258; p113 Phan Cẩm Thượng 2014 The Daily Arts (The Arts & Cultures of Viet Nam: a Journey Through History)>000

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William Yang gave a wonderful opening speech at my 2012 Diffusion NGAG. Dining with friends afterwards when he gifted me Wawa – totally unexpected and a happy amusing memory.

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William Yang, Wawa, Mai Nguyen-Long 2012

8 Feb 2016

Năm hết Tết đến. Chúc bạn tiền vô như nước luôn luôn mạnh khỏe suốt năm con khỉ. Vạn sự như ý…Chúc Mứng Năm Mới! Vietnamese New Year quiet Sydney family gathering today. Happy Lunar New Year!

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24 Jan 2016

Hôm qua mừng Tết tại Tổng Lãnh Sự  Quán Việt Nam, Sydney. Bất ngờ tôi gặp thầy giáo Tiếng Việt đầu tiên của tôi. Thầy ấy rất hài lòng  tôi chưa quên Tiếng Việt Nam!

Yesterday celebrated Vietnamese New Year at the Vietnamese Consulate in Sydney. Ran into my first ever Vietnamese language teacher. He was very happy I have not forgotten my Vietnamese!

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Me & my adopted Dad William Yang at Carriageworksopening night In Between Two 21 Jan 2016.

Me & my adopted Dad William Yang at Carriageworks opening night In Between Two 21 Jan 2016.

Village bell Hoa Binh Viet Nam 2015

Village bell Hoa Binh Viet Nam 2015

Lina, the morning receptionist at Artisan Lakeview Hotel, my temporary Hanoi home. Lina & I had an interesting discussion about English phonetics.

Lina my day-to-day logistics adviser Sept 2015

Enroute to Chùa Hương (Perfume Pagoda), a vaste complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into limestone mountains. Feb 2015.

En route to Chùa Hương – Perfume Pagoda (day trip with friends MNL March 2015)

Visiting Ông Nội (paternal grandfather). Uncle in background. Photo by Dad Feb 2015.

Ong Noi – paternal grandfather – Uncle#9 standing in background (NKL Feb 2015)

Offerings for the Goddess of Mercy, recently emerged from the Sea. Mai Nguyen-Long 2015.

Offerings for the Goddess of Mercy – recently emerged from the sea (day trip with family MNL Feb 2015)

Visiting Chùa Khleang (Khmer Pagoda) in my Grandma's city. Mai Nguyen-Long 2015.

Chùa Khleang – Khmer Pagoda (Grandma’s town MNL Feb 2015)

A solitary moment. Miếu Bà Quảng Đông Thiên Hậu Thánh Mẫu. Mai Nguyen-Long 2015.

A solitary moment (Miếu Bà Quảng Đông Thiên Hậu Thánh Mẫu. Grandma’s town MNL Feb 2015)

April 30 is the 40th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.


...killing centuries-old trees = killing cultural value. without cultural value we are nothing. rip not my heart out...

…killing trees = killing cultural value. without cultural value we are nothing. rip not my heart out…(26 March MNL 2015)

My gum tree fighting back (MNL March 2015)

My gum tree fighting back (Bulli MNL March 2015)


Hanoi artist Le Quang Ha's pet dog

Artist Le Quang Ha’s pet dog (MNL Oct 2014)

During a recent dinner with friends in Ho Chi Minh City, my Pho Dog incident was raised. In response, Mr Quang kindly shared with me one of his articles: The Question of Reconciliation in Vietnam: A Relevant Social Issue by Trần Hữu Quang, published in Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research.  Special Issue: Peace and Reconciliation in Vietnam. Guest Editor: Sophie Quinn-Judge; October 2013, Volume 38, Issue 4, Pages 383-506.

Work in progress. Le Quang Ha studio Oct 2014.

Le Quang Ha studio work in progress Hanoi (MNL Oct 2014)

Market Scene (MNL Oct 2015)

Market Scene (MNL Oct 2015)


Auntie#9 has a new modern kitchen, but she is still more comfortable with her traditional style bench top…& her traditional style sink.  She also has a new Dental Suite…smack bang in the middle of her lounge room.

Step 1: Make Lunch

Step 1: Make Lunch


Step 2: Cut Pomelo


Step 3: Wash Dishes

Step 3: Wash Dishes

Step 4: Fix Teeth

Step 4: Fix Teeth


...still has time to visit the Goddess of Mercy, care for grand daughter Dau (Strawberry) and my 94 year old grandmother (laughing in background).

…visit Goddess of Mercy, care for grand daughter D(z)au (Strawberry) and my 94 year old grandmother (laughing in background)…(MNL Feb 2015)


Grandma's neighbour sets up this noodle soup stall every morning. He cycles to deliver hot bowls of noodle soup up & down the street, balancing up to FIVE bowls at a time.

Grandma’s neighbour sets up this noodle stall every morning. He cycles to deliver hot bowls of noodle soup up & down the street, balancing up to FIVE bowls on his tray at a time (NKL Feb 2015)


Living in Bulli one thing I miss most is Pho. Today, after a cold swim in the rain, I discovered a Pho stall at Bulli Sunday Markets! It tasted like the best pho ever!

Living in Bulli, one of the things I miss most is Pho. Today, after a cold swim in the rain, I discovered a Pho stall at the new Bulli Sunday Markets. It tasted like the best pho ever! (MNL March 2015)

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1 Response to Photo Diary

  1. Thanks so much Mai. Enormously interesting and very thoughtful. I’m sorry I didn’t see the George Burchett exhibition, direct, but hope I might get to see Jamie Maxtone-Graham’s. I love your statement “Each viewer can only respond to it in a way loaded with their own personal history and perspectives. Unless we can usurp and overturn that – by sharing stories and experiences, by digging beneath the surface – we are condemned to our own blind spots.” Such a simple, important truth, and you do it so well.

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