Cam Xanh


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


Marker on silk cocoon, wood, plexiglass box

50 x 10 x 10 cm

In this work, Cam Xanh uses the first of Vietnam’s three famous Declarations of Independence to demonstrate the instability of geopolitical borders. The 10th century poem Nam Quốc Sơn Hà (南國山河, or Mountains and Rivers of the Southern Country), declares Vietnam’s independence from the Chinese by referencing the physical demarcation of the land for which we]are fighting, yet it is the emotional plea – the poem became an emblematic hymn, read aloud before battles to boost morale – that makes that land worth fighting for. The box of cocoons – each cocoon has a word from the poem written on top in marker pen – is just one of an unlimited number of editions, reminding us that the fight for autonomy and independence is very much current and widespread. Through the use of cocoons, Cam Xanh references the silk trade that once played a major role in connecting and supporting the economies of Southeast Asia, and highlights how fraught notions of autonomy are now dependent on economic borders, which follow the movement of capital. 

(Edited from text excerpts provided by the artists)