In the Czech Republic, the Vietnamese are not only mini-market owners and middle-aged businessmen. There are also seniors, children, teenagers and progressive youngsters. The third Vietnamese generation is growing up here. We invite you to the travelling photographic exhibition by leading documentary photographer Jindřich Štreit.
6th — 31st October 2021 Tábor, Farní Charita
6th — 27th August 2021, Plzeň, mázhaus radnice
2nd — 16th September, Praha, OC Chodov
8th — 31st August, Uherské Hradiště
About the exhibition
We take Vietnamese shops and mini-markets for granted and visit them almost every other day. Rarely, we think about what their owners do after they close. How or do they ever rest? What do their birthday parties and weddings look like? How do they keep family traditions and relationships? Do they miss Vietnam? Although we are almost in daily contact, we know so little about each other.
The exhibition is held within the MIND project, which tries to give the public a more specific idea about the characteristics of Vietnamese culture and their potential transformation after arriving in the Czech Republic. At the same time, the project aims to remind us that people of Vietnamese origin and their stories are an integral part of our society and everyday life.
Three generations of Vietnamese in the Czech Republic
Vietnamese in the Czech Republic are not just mini-market owners and middle-aged businessmen. There are also seniors, children, teenagers and progressive youngsters. The third Vietnamese generation is growing up here.
The first temporary migrant workers came to Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. From 1974 more and more of them arrived in our country (thanks to the intergovernmental agreement between the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance member states). Today, the Vietnamese diaspora is the third most important diaspora here. The first generation is the Vietnamese born in Vietnam who came here as adults or adolescents.
The so-called one and a half generation is represented by those born in Vietnam who came to Czechia as elementary school children and completed their primary education here. The second generation consists of those born to the immigrants in Czechia or those who came here at the age not higher than 5. For those, the term banana kids (Asian looking, European character) is known. Finally, the third generation consists of children of the one and a half or the second generation. Although these Vietnamese were born solely in the Czech Republic, their Vietnamese culture is very meaningful to them.
The Vietnamese culture and the everyday reality are interweaved with traditions, customs and rules followed by those belonging to this culture even after leaving their homeland. This also applies to Vietnamese in the Czech Republic. Despite the fact they especially the younger ones - confronted with the central European culture influence, which is entirely different. What does the private, work or festive life look like in the Vietnamese household in Czechia today? How much does it differ from the one in Vietnam?
You can see the motifs of Vietnamese diaspora life through the lens of the leading photographer Jindřich Štreit. The photographs were taken in the course of a year, and they enable us to enter the homes, workplaces and ceremonial halls of people with whom we have shared the same country for decades, and yet we often consider each other strangers.