Cristina NualART

The Gold Digger Ate my Homework

This little painting is my donation to the Arts For Mobility art auction that will take place this Saturday in the Saigon Opera House.


The Gold Digger Ate my Homework, 2012

Acrylic, old book pages, Letraset, pencil, gold dust and ground demolished HCMC house pieces on canvas.

On a regular day in HCMC, I might easily spot at least 5 diggers around the city, tearing down buildings in their mission to renovate Vietnam. These mechanical giraffes with the power of an elephant are fed houses and shops, or whatever other constructions get in the way of their flattening path. They relentlessly cause a daily ‘fall’ of Saigon.

The paintings in this series contain actual ground up bricks and cement taken from demolished buildings. This ‘gold’ digger is painted over old book pages, torn from Vietnamese books published pre-1975, before the real estate ‘gold rush’ started. In recent decades, wealthy developers have metaphorically eaten up the homes and places of work of the less privileged, at a speed that has made the country one of the fastest growing economies in history.

Watch this short film on the wonderful, if sad, story of a Vietnamese fisherman who was moved away from the place he lived and worked. I used to see his shack regularly on my commute. Not anymore.

‘The rapid transformation of the environment was seen merely as a casualty of progress, not as the regrettable passing away of an age and the erasure of a whole set of values.’ Tay Kheng Son and Robbie Goh (2003) in  Theorizing the Southeast Asian City as Text.


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Unless otherwise specified, text and images © 2017 Cristina Nualart

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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