Khanh Phan

"Anyone want to buy flowers?"

Class of: 2027

Major: Communication Design BFA

Medium: Recycled plastic spoons, paper, shopping bags, metal wires, bamboo, fabrics

Faculty: Barbara A. Friedman

Prompt: In this project, students will choose a work of art, design, or object from a specific culture to reinterpret. How we explore connections to culture, tradi- tion, and history serve as impetus for contemporary and personal artistic expression. Is the work appropriation, simply fake or homage?

This work is a transformed version of the baskets that were originally used by the street vendors in Vietnam. With two baskets on the shoulders, street vendors sell all kinds of goods that buyers need such as noodles, snacks, tofu, or newspapers while singing out loud to advertise for their goods. Here, this artwork presents the main product in the baskets as flowers with Vietnamese “nón lá” — a traditional hat of Vietnam. The image of the street vendors has been considered as an icon, the soul of Hanoi since it has been used for hundreds of years; however, what the street vendors carry is not simply a culture representation, but a burden that they have to make their living day by day based on these baskets. Their whole family’s lives rely on how many flowers they sell per day. After decades, street vendors become a job that is passed from generation to generation. This is the reason why I chose recycling plastic spoons as the main materials for this piece. The cycle of reusing or recycling the materials somewhat symbolizes the repeating cycle of these street vendors baskets over decades.