Cry for Father on Mother’s day – Salting the Pongour is deeply personal work in response to the premature death of the artist’s father, aged 40. The performance marked the artist’s first visit to Da Lat, a place noted for its waterfalls and ghosts. It was a place her father spoke of but never reached, becoming an emblem for unaccomplished life plans and alternative histories.
In the documentation we see a lone figure gesturing upwards in the rain—too young at the time to fully understand the gravity of loss, Cam Xanh threw salt into the rain to form the tears she never cried for her father’s death. The trip, part pilgrimage, part exorcism, was a chance for Cam Xanh to confront the personal tragedy of losing her father, and the burden of her mother’s sorrow alongside her own.
Cry for Father on Mother’s day – Salting the Pongour opens the possibility for us to question how significant events in our own pasts might inform our later lives, and opens the thought of how those absent from our lives might still have presence. By adding salt to a fresh water source that runs throughout southern Vietnam before joining the South China Sea, Cam Xanh creates her own purifying ritual, drawn in-part from her father’s Catholic religion, and shares it, through joining the water cycle, with the rest of the world. From a place of quiet solitude, Cam Xanh uses the medium of performance to reach out for the oceanic feeling that bonds us to each other and the universe in its whole.
location: Pongour Waterfall, Da Lat, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam