For We Are Called to Freedom

For We Are Called to Freedom, 2019. Charcoal and hand embroidery on paper , 42 x 60”, 42 x 50”

In 1975, my family fled a war-torn South Vietnam because they believed that the freedom for their future generations was worth risking death. They arrived in America, flourished in this freedom, and since then, have lived with purpose in the pursuit of life and liberty.  

The current refugee crisis has caused widespread panic within the People, and the Vietnamese American community has also been affected by inhumane immigration policies. We have been caught in the crosshairs, fighting to free ourselves from the scope of the powers who, through systematic oppression and injustice, have demonstrated their apathy for the sanctity of Life.

Vietnamese greenfinches and American goldfinches appear and dissolve into the quiet, taking flight from the crosshairs that have befallen them as they are being hunted. And still, they will continue to fight for freedom like their ancestors did.  

The crosshairs, where two equal lines intersect, reference the point at which we can meet to discuss the changes that serve the betterment of humanity. The crosses are placed upon each bird’s heart as a stamp of courage. The word courage, deriving from the Greek word cour, or heart, defines courage as, essentially, what we are with our whole heart.

In hope and in confidence, we stand fast.   

The red cross also symbolizes the International Committee of Red Cross, the humanitarian organization that was created to serve prisoners of war and their families, and to protect to refugees, those affected by armed conflict, and those assisting them. The red cross can also be seen on first aid kits, representing the preservation of life.