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Diem Chau

County: King County




EDGE Professional Development Program 2003
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Grants for Artist Projects 2005
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Fellowship Awards 2008
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Diem Chau was born in Saigon, Vietnam. She describes her medium as stories. Diem came from a nomadic childhood, possessing only necessities, so the items of greatest value were the stories told by her grandmother. She has spent countless hours collecting memories and pieces of different cultures by listening to their stories and believes it is her turn to be the storyteller and weave the thread that connects us to each other; the storyteller holding one end and the audience the other. Her work has been shown at OKOK Gallery, Gallery 4Culture, and the Cornish Alumni Gallery. Diem graduated with a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in 2002. Diem won a 2008 PONCHO Artistic Merit Award. In 2008 she received a Seattle Magazine Spotlight Award, and in 2013 she was featured in CityArts Magazine.

Diem received 2005 GAP Award funding to pay for travel expenses to the former Philippine Refugee Processing Center. Inspired by entries in the journal of her late father, she is compelled to tell the story of the 400,000 refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia that made the camp their home from 1982-1994. She will visit the Philippines for a month, researching these stories with the intentions of reconnecting with her parents and culture while working on drawings and collecting other source material for her work.

As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Diem gave a hands-on miniature tree and landscape workshop at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service in Seattle. It was her first time teaching a workshop, and her main goal was to teach something fun to make with relatively simple tools and techniques. Diem wanted to use craft and creativity to reach out to a non-art crowd. The class was very well-attended by a diverse group of people, from children aged 6–7 to seniors in their 60s. They had such a great time that she’s going to conduct another workshop for them in the Spring. Diem mentioned that she regularly gets asked to do workshops for groups and organizations and has regularly turned them down, until now!

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Image: Peggy Piacenza, 2024 Fellowship Recipient

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