Poet Truong Tran and photographer Chung Hoang Chuong worked with other Vietnamese Americans through the Huong Viet Community Center and traveled to Vietnam together, recording their responses in a book and exhibition. The artists had different generational experiences as Vietnamese Americans: Chung Hoang Chuong was a student in the United States in the 1960s; and Truong Tran is a member of the “1.5 generation,” who fled Vietnam as young children.
Their finished project, The Book of Perceptions, was released by Kearny Street Workshop in March 1999 at an exhibit opening and book party at Pacific Bridge Gallery that later traveled to the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and the Chinese Cultural Center (San Francisco). The book was a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Book Prize; and some of the poems became part of Tran’s later poetry collection Dust and Conscience (Apogee Press), which won the 2002 Poetry Center Book Award.
Huong Viet Community Center is a nonprofit service organization dedicated to fostering the development of the Vietnamese American community. Truong Tran and Chung Hoang Chuong spent extensive time at the center, attending community festivals, weekly classes, and other events. For the Center, this project reached a new audience of young American-Vietnamese artists and middle class professionals from the Bay Area; and the opening at Pacific Bridge Gallery, drew the largest audience in its history.
Photographer Chuong Hoang Chuong is the former director of the Vietnamese American Studies Center at San Francisco State University and, in 1982, was the first instructor to teach a course on Southeast Asian American experience at the University of California, Berkeley. His work as a photographer and videographer has been exhibited nationally.
Truong Tran is the recipient of poetry fellowships from the Arts Council of Santa Clara and the California Arts Council. As a graduate student at San Francisco State University he received the highest honor for a student earning a masters degree—the Honorary Hood Recipient at his M.F.A. graduation.