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April 2022

OIA Creative Strategist Explores the Immigrant Experience of Donut Shops in New Art Exhibit 150 150 dcba

OIA Creative Strategist Explores the Immigrant Experience of Donut Shops in New Art Exhibit

Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) hosted a community resource fair for Unaccompanied Minors and their sponsors when an unexpected sight may have been encountered. Artist Phung Huynh, has always had a passion for art and its ability to spark conversations about culture, customs, and representation, and continues to share her craft nationally and internationally. Huynh was selected as DCBA’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) Artist and Creative Strategist through an innovative program created by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture which uses art to explore creative solutions to complex challenges.

Children's artwork hangs from portable booths at a community event.

At a Welcome Fair at East Los Angeles College, Phung Huynh creates a welcoming environment that encourages expression through art and displays attendee artwork.

Huynh proudly recalls the moment a child visited a community fair booth three times because they wanted to express themselves through art. Reflecting on her selection for the post, she says: “I am honored and privileged at the chance to make an impact through art and working with the community. I help uplift the narratives of those we serve.”

“This is a perfect opportunity to connect art to OIA. My work contributes to immigrants feeling welcome and safe in a festive and fun environment,” she said. The latter an intentional recognition on her part that all residents deserve joy.

As a Southeast Asian refugee, Huynh found peace, solace, guidance and belonging through a neighbor’s connection to art and the Cambodian diaspora by way of Paris, France.

Donut Whole exhibition promotional artwork. Exhibition runs from March 12 to May 27, 20222Those in Los Angeles have a limited opportunity to see Huynh’s work in her latest exhibit Donut (W)hole at Self Help Graphics and Art which opened on March 12, 2022 and runs through May 27, 2022. It explores the nexus between the Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee experience and donut shops through a unique medium – the synonymous pink boxes popularized by these shops.

Huynh shares that this exhibit is for everyone of all ages. Those that relate to the California experience and who visit donut shops regularly will reminisce. This exhibit is also for those that have sensed “a feeling of other” or “not able to find their name.” She says it honors the names and histories of refugees in pursuit of their own American dream.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register for this event at selfhelpgraphics.eventbrite.com as this exhibit has garnered extensive coverage on local television, digital, and food-based news outlets.

Visitors to the Donut Whole art exhibition draw their own donuts

Donut (W)hole exhibition attendees create artwork that reflects their cultural identity.

Those who attend the exhibit might make comparisons to public works of art, and rightly so. Huynh’s distinct style and prominence has been rewarded with opportunities to share her work at Metro light rail stations, Los Angeles Zoo and other Los Angeles County facilities. Those works, as well as her future works and exhibits can be found at phunghuynh.com.

Whether through a traditional art exhibit or helping children find their artistic philosophy, Phung Huynh excitedly looks forward to the next opportunity that intertwines the power of expression, reflection, and hope.

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