“Some people are under the impression that textile and embroidery art is lesser, and I think that’s due to its link with women’s history,” Duong tells The Adelaide Review. “For me textiles are a metaphor for life. I think it’s also an incredibly broad and versatile art form.
“The first work I ever made that got me off to a start on my conceptual focus was about how embroidery has been connected to a stereotype of femininity that’s submissive, meek and obedient.”
Since 2013 Duong has used her embroidery practice to explore a series of fittingly intricate, interwoven cultural and political themes. Her work, spanning representation of race, mental and reproductive health, has in turn helped her understand and reconcile with her own personal identity and struggles.
“My work has always stemmed from my personal experiences – anything that I’m struggling with in my life, I tend to make artwork about,” Duong says. “I tend to make work in order to raise awareness about issues that are shrouded in ignorance or stigma.
“I think art plays an extremely important role in questioning the status quo, and right now the historical narrative we’ve been fed is definitely being challenged and redefined.”
Duong is currently undertaking a residency at NEXUS Arts for SALA 2020 under the mentorship of South Australian textile artist, Cheryl Hutchens. As recent Black Lives Matter protests bring complex and nuanced conversations around race and belonging in White-dominated social structures to the surface, the work that has come out of Duong’s residency reflects on these ideas through a personal lens.