QTViệt Artists & Healers Circle
Một cây làm chẳng nên non, ba cây chụm lại nên hòn núi cao. Together, we can change the world.
For the last four years, we’ve been uplifting, healing, and organizing ourselves and each other - the Queer and Trans Vietnamese community - sharing our magic at QTViệt By Night Showcases, Tết Intergenerational Feasts, open mics, and various events. The journey’s been beautiful and trying with peaks and valleys - it’s been everything and anything beyond the capacity of language, words, and phrases to describe our experiences. We started the QTViệt Cafe Collective as a space to explore more of ourselves as queer, trans, and non-binary Vietnamese, connect with others’ shared experiences, and commit to healing. The healing has started from those identities though goes much beyond them. It reaches our ancestors, going beyond the intergenerational trauma, and asking us where our roots are and what they mean. Our healing has allowed us to dig deeper so that we can learn more of who we are, our purpose, and how to be in more authentic and real relationships with one another. The journey towards freeing ourselves as queer, trans, and non-binary Vietnamese can be scary. Doing it alone can be even scarier. Though, what’s been saving us is being on that journey together - collectively - opening us up to be more courageous and vulnerable. It has created circles of protection and beacons of light for us to feel resourced, nourished, and live the ways that we want to, the ways that we need to. The healing journey has opened channels and large oceans of intergenerational acceptance, radical love, and safe spaces to be who who want to be. We’ve given ourselves and each other the permission to define what it means to be QTViệt in this present time and in the future as to not be shackled by and attached to our past.
And, that’s only the beginning of our continued collective committed healing. In what’s seemingly becoming a more uncertain world today, what’s certain is the need for more community and one another. That the need for us as QTViệts to create, express, and manifest meaning and purpose are not only necessary for our survival, but for our continued healing and thriving evolution. In thinking of the future, we’ve come to this point.
We’re inviting those who’ve been part of our journey and emerging & all QTViệt-identified artists and healers to deepen our collective healing by committing to practice in circle through the rest of this Lunar year. The Circle’s purpose is to gather interested and committed QTViệt artists and healers to make space to deeply nurture and support our individual and each other’s art forms and practice and share our creative expressions with the greater community. We welcome and encourage Circle members to consider their art form(s) as it relates to being Queer/Trans and Vietnamese in the dispora and/or homeland. We hope to emulate the beauty of circles - we find them in shapes like the sun, the moon, planets in the cosmos, three trunks, cell structures, nhãn (longan and many other fruits) and in cycles like the lunar calendar and the concept of plants sprouting-repopulating, and composting.
This opportunity is intended for QTViệt-identified artists and healers who want to be in deep community with other QTViệt-identified artists and healers to grow, support, and nurture our creative expressions. We foresee this being promising for QTViệts who are already engaged in an art form(s) and want a community to network with/offer feedback or QTViệts who are emerging as artists/healers and have an idea and want a network and some semi-structure to manifest creative dreams. Our hope is to make space to engage with our creative expression as part of our healing and liberation and being accountable to each other for that.
Values of this Circle
Seasonal retreats and meetings with QTViet artists and healers
Access to workshop our art disciplines and give/receive feedback
Engage in personal and collective artistic development: skillshares, community and cultural knowledge
We want the concepts of art & healing to be as fluid & wide a spectrum as gender & sexual expression & identities. They may include, though not limited to, artists and healers practicing:
Video, photography, audio, and/or written art forms
Drawing arts (painting, watercolor, calligraphy, etc.)
Land-based and/or land-connected cultural work (farming, food, culinary, pottery, etc.)
Mixed multimedia and/or interdisciplinary expression
Astrology and/or cosmology
Traditional, physical, spiritual, ancestral, medicinal, &/or evolving healing modalities & practices
Help organize and participate in a summer retreat (end of June, exact dates TBD)
Meet regularly with Circle (frequency determined by the Circle) after the retreat through Winter Solstice
Participate in conversations about how we want to share our progress and our art with the community and organize at least one community gathering.
Our intention is to grow the circles with new additions starting every Tết (Lunar New Year).
Thank you for considering this, and we’re excited at the prospect of this journey together!
The QTViệt Artists & Healers Circle is a project of the QTViệt Cafe Collective (QTVCC).
QTVCC is a cultural healing hub dedicated to nourish, heal, and uplift Queer and Trans Việtnamese (QTViệt) narratives through ancestral practices, the arts, and intergenerational connections. QTVCC creates spaces where, as QTViệts, we are able to remember, honor, and practice the relationships our ancestors and provide an unapologetic platform for and by QTViệt artists in witnessing each other’s brilliance and non-binary existence.
QTVCC is fiscally sponsored by Asian Refugees United (ARU), improving the health and well-being of East Oakland Asian immigrant and refugee communities by building voice, visibility and power.
Photo Credit: Amy Huỳnh