Cam Xanh


Nam Quốc Sơn Hà (Mountain and Rivers of the Southern Country) / Vietnam’s first Declaration of Independence


Marker on silk cocoon, wood and plexiglass box

50 x 10 x 10 cm

Cam Xanh uses the first of Vietnam’s four famous Declarations of Independence to demonstrate the instability of the geopolitical borders that define countries. Whilst the 10th century poem Nam Quoc Son Ha (Mountains and Rivers of the Southern Country), declaring Vietnam’s independence from the Chinese, references the physicality of ‘our’ land for which they are fighting, it is the emphasised emotional connection that makes it worth fighting for. The box of cocoons is just one of an unlimited edition. Small though it might be, it suggests an unfinished fight and has significant implications for Vietnam’s, as well as other previously occupied countries, continuing fight for autonomy and dominance in an increasingly globalised, still Western-led world. As a material the silk cocoon is strong despite being very fine, when unravelled it is almost invisible and yet one cocoon contains nearly one kilometre of thread. Like the silkworm, Southeast Asia has a history of being exploited but just as silk exports once played a major role in supporting the region’s economy, Cam Xanh uses the silk cocoon as a symbol to reflect countries such as Vietnam’s ever-expanding reach and presence on the world stage. The pieces’ varying appearance, as the cocoons are jostled in their boxes by the movement of each installation, only further demonstrates the passing of time and its accompaniment of unrelenting change. (Text courtesy of the artist)