NEW ORLEANS (AP) — At first glance, the 108 bottles of yellow fingernail polish in artist Christian Anh Dai Viet Dinh’s exhibit of ceramic sculpture at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art might seem identical. But as you look more carefully, you pick up on subtle differences in shape, from squat to slender. And you notice color variations, from antique ivory to mango. If, as you survey the bottles, you begin considering the relationship of individuality to generality, then you’re being drawn into a subject dear to Dinh’s heart.
Dinh, 28, is a first-generation American. His mom was 7 and his dad was 14 in 1975, when they escaped the chaos at the close of the war in Vietnam and eventually settled with their families in Florida. Dinh said he can’t speak Vietnamese very well, but he understands it all right. For instance, he understood when his grandmother instructed him how to properly steam a whole fish. Grandma wasn’t big on the exact timing of the recipe. Instead, she told him to just wait until the eyes turn white, then the fish is perfectly done.