"An ancient varnish, Vietnamese lacquer was re-invented as a painting medium during the 20th century.  To me this also represents an entire of history of painting “becoming lacquer”. I am interested in further exploring this process of acculturation by combining sơn mài with new materials and formats to extend the scope of the medium as image, reflect on cross cultural histories and situate the medium in a broader art discourse.  The material qualities of this medium, the deep colors and and ever-changing light on a lac­quer image demands a different kind of attention and offers a heightened visual experience. "


Phi Phi Oanh, 


Portrait of Phi Phi by Aaron Joel Santos, Hanoi, 2009

Born in Houston in 1979, Phi Phi Oanh received her BFA at Parsons School of Design (2002) and a Masters in Art and Investigation at the University of Madrid Complutense (2012).  In 2004, she received a Fulbright Grant to research lacquer painting in Hanoi.  Since then, Vietnamese lacquer has become central to her work, which focuses on its potential as a painting medium to convey memory or reflection, examine current theories of the image and expand into more experimental methods and scale.  



Areas of Interest: rethinking crafts; experiential spaces; transcultural experience; hybridity; collective memory and the body; 



Interface, The Factory Contemporary Arts Center, HCMC, May-July 2019

Radiant Material, Pro Se, National Gallery Singapore, Singapore June-September 2017

Make Shift, FOST Gallery, Gillman Barracks, Singapore, June-August 2017

Scry, Manzi Art Space, Hanoi, December 2016

Palimpsest, FOST Gallery, Gillman Barracks, Singapore, May 2014

Palimpsest, L’Espace, Alliance Francaise, Hanoi, April 2013

Specula, Hanoi City Exhibition Hall, December 2009

Black Box,LA Artcore Brewery Annex Gallery, August 2008

Black Box, Art League Houston, January - February 2008

Black Box, Vietnam National Arts Museum, Hanoi, August 2007

El Dorado, El Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, Managua, Nicaragua, August 2003

PAX, Parsons Gallery, Paris, May 2002


Group Shows

Depth of Surface, Silverlens Gallery, Manila, September-October 2018

The Foliage, Vincom Center for Contemporary Arts, Hanoi, June-August 2017

Lock Route, a public art showcase at Gillman Barracks, Singapore, January-June 2017

Undefined Boudaries, Korean Cultural Center, Heritage Space, Hanoi, March 2017

Sous la Lune, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Singapore, December 2015-February 2016

Artstage Singapore, Southeast Asian Platforms, Singapore, January 2015

A Woman’s View, Goethe Institute, Hanoi, March 8-23, 2014

If the World Changed, Singapore Biennale 2013, Singapore Art Museum, October 2013-February 2014

Resonant Uruwashi Exhibition, Tokyo Yamawaki Gallery, Gallery of Kyoto City, University of Arts, Kitakata City Museum of Art, September-November 2012

Fragmentations of Space, L’Espace, Hanoi, Vietnam (Duo exhibition) 2011

First International Lacquer Triennial, Wuhan, Hubei, China, 2010

Paths of Self-Questioning, Au Co Gallery, Hanoi, December, 2009

Art Gallery of the Centro Cultural de Managua, Nicaragua, October 2002

Premise, EOF Gallery, Paris, June 2002