about

Photograph of artist Hop Dac sitting on a small white chair in his studio. He is wearing a brown jumper and block jeans and is barefoot.

biography

Hello! A little bit about me: I was born in Vietnam and came to Australia as a refugee in 1980. My family settled on the Western Australian coast, where I studied Fine Art at Curtin University when Ted Snell was running it, majoring in Printmaking under the watchful eye of Harry Hummerston. I did minors in painting, drawing, anthropology and creative writing.

I moved to Melbourne in 2002 where I eventually studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. For a time writing and editing was my focus and I’ve work published in several anthologies (including Growing up Asian in Australia), and also in Overland, Peril Magazine and Kill Your Darlings. I worked in editorial roles at KYD between 2013 and 2016 and have had editorial roles with Paroxysm Press and Redbubble. I’ve been involved with the National Young Writers Festival, Emerging Writers Festival and Melbourne Writers Festival either as an event coordinator or panellist.

I live in Wadawurrung country (Geelong, Australia) with my partner and our two daughters.

artist statement

Earlier this year I became engrossed with the symbolism of the bogong moth and its importance in Australia for different cultures. For First Nations people, the annual migration of the once plentiful moths to the Australian alps was an important food and trade source. White Australians speak about the migration with nostalgia, with their presence common around the floodlights of sporting fixtures, and the suburbs, when winds blew them off course. I tied their symbolism to my experiences as part of the Vietnamese diaspora, who after the Vietnam War, moved in large numbers to Australia. Since the 70s and 80s, when bogong moth numbers started dwindling, there has been a sometimes-difficult process of cultural assimilation, not only for the Vietnamese, but also for the wider Australian community in accepting them. 

There is a lot of kitsch that appears in my work, which while it appeals to a nostalgia for a former way of life, also serves as a time stamp for a time when the attitudes expressed towards Vietnamese people, and other minority groups, were different. These scenes allow me to tread, perhaps uneasily, themes of migration, pestilence, conservation, nostalgia and cultural shifts.

I am drawn to scenes in domestic settings and intimate public spaces. I flirt with realism, surrealism, the absurd and the sublime in small scale, where I can explore the symbology of everyday objects and motifs.