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Ancestors and Testimonies: Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn and Gwen Moore

How can we move beyond the dominant narrative, to hear stories that have been erased? Artist Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn and curator and public historian Gwen Moore find similarities in growing up in communities that were violently transformed or completely erased. Building on earlier discussions of trauma in this program, the two talk about how their practices of storytelling and public memory are a response to damage leveled on Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Mill Creek Valley in St. Louis. Their mutual interests point to listening to the voices of ancestors, the testimonial power of objects, and our collective responsibility to understand history.

Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn’s artistic practice explores strategies of political resistance enacted through counter-memory and post-memory. Extracting and re-working narratives via history and supernaturalisms is an essential part of Nguyen’s video works and sculptures where fact and fiction are both held accountable. 

Gwen Moore is the Curator of Urban Landscape and Community Identity at the Missouri Historical Society focusing on race, ethnicity, race relations, and social justice issues in St. Louis. An important part of her work has been documenting the Ferguson protest movement, which includes a collection of physical materials along with an oral history project. Gwen was also the curator for the Missouri History Museum exhibition, #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis

Radio Resistance assembles the voices of intersecting local and global agents of change. Artists featured in the exhibition Stories of Resistance are paired with figures from the past, present, and future of St. Louis, coming together to transmit messages of dissent. A selection from their discussion can be found on St. Louis on the Air, the noontime talk program hosted by Sarah Fenske on St. Louis Public Radio, with the full episode also available in a listening station at CAM, and on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Radio Resistance is co-produced by Michelle Dezember, Director of Learning and Engagement, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, and Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator. Sound design and editing by Sean Pierce.

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