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Tuan Andrew Nguyen

All That We Are Is What We Hold In Our Outstretched Hands

Sat 11 February — Sat 25 March 2023

Wheelchair accessible

Wheelchair accessible

Large print

Large print

A dark skinned man stands in the centre of a leafy path. He is holding a black and white framed portrait of a woman.

Tuan Andrew Nguyen, The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, 2019

All That We Are Is What We Hold in Our Outstretched Hands

Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s practice explores the power of memory and its potential to act as a form of political resistance. His work is fueled by research and a commitment to communities that have faced traumas caused by colonialism, war, and displacement.

This exhibition centres on Tuan’s 2019 film, The Specter of Ancestors Becoming made in collaboration with Raw Material Company in Dakar, Senegal. The work envisions the memories and desires of the descendants of the tirailleurs sénégalais, West African colonial
soldiers who were among the French forces sent to combat Vietnamese liberation uprisings in the 1940s. Though the stories told through the film and its surrounding archive and material appear to reflect a geographically and culturally specific history, it is actually an example of what Koyo Kouoh describes as the micro-story within the macro-story of the colonial project and its legacies of forced migration and displaced bodies. Through this work we experience generational memory, bound to place and time through individual bodies, while simultaneously hearing the echoes of these memories and histories as they form connections beyond the framing of spaces, geographies and borders that have been delineated by the legacies of colonial empires.

The installation itself surrounds the viewer with simultaneous yet different perspectives moving forward in time. In its embrace, we experience fragments of this installation rather than a whole. We have access to a meaning, a feeling. Not a story, but a memory, and sometimes, a memory of something that has never been seen.

With special thanks to RAW Material Company, co-curators of the exhibition. For further reading relating to The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, please log on to CCA Annex to view a collection of essays published by RAW Material Company in 2022 to mark the first exhibition of the film.

Artist talk

As part of the daytime Saturday preview on Sat 11 February, join us in the CCA galleries for a talk at 3pm with artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen.

The discussion will be led by Glasgow-based artist and ___ Camara Taylor alongside Dulcie Abrahams Altass who co-curated the project as part of Raw Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society in Dakar. Together, they will be discussing The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, its inception, the work of building communities beyond borders and afterlives, not just of History, war and colonialism, but also those afterlifes that speak to love, death, survival and the diaspora. Find out more here.




Event Type





11:00am — 6:00pm


Opening Preview Fri 10 February, 7pm
Daytime Preview Sat 11 February, from midday


All ages


Free and unticketed


Wheelchair accessible

Large print

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