Artist Yeu Q Nguyen stands proudly in front of her piece “Weaving Hope” right outside Porto’s in Downey.
Artist Yeu Q Nguyen stands proudly in front of her piece “Weaving Hope” right outside Porto’s in Downey.
Silas Bravo

Local artist brings one-day interactive art display in Downey

The city of Downey was given a visit on May 12 outside of Porto’s Bakery by visual artist Yeu Q Nguyen and her hand woven piece “Weaving Hope.”

For one day only, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents of Downey and those passing by Porto’s were invited to interact with the local artist’s display.

Nguyen created this piece of art during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when the world was put on lock down.

“The piece is 12-feet wide and is designed for the outdoors. I wanted people to interact with art while still being safe,” said Nguyen.

Her art display was inspired by COVID-19 restrictions and the toll the pandemic took on people, individually.

“During the pandemic there was a lot of conflict, despair and hopelessness. While making this piece I wanted to invite people to make space for something positive inside themselves,” said Nguyen.

Nguyen, who is from Los Angeles, focuses on large scale installation art. “My projects inspire resilience and empathy,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen finally finished this piece in May 2021 and plans to travel with the display throughout Los Angeles county collecting feathers from different cities.

Nguyen started her journey in Highland Park. Since then she has brought her work to south Los Angeles, South Gate, Downey and many more cities.

She wants to distribute the feathers she collects throughout her travels and allow people to write their definition of hope and what it [hope] means to them. The goal is to collect one thousand feathers; She currently has [roughly] 500 feathers.

“The key is for people to read the other feathers and realize that we [essentially] all want the same thing,” said Nguyen. “Instead of focusing on what is driving us apart we should focus on our common humanity.”

The piece is woven from all reclaimed materials. Nguyen said, “It includes over 15 pounds of fabric and materials from landfills. The piece started off as an experiment and it ended up really working. I think people have really responded well to it.”

Nguyen prefers to debut her work in public spaces; She believes that public spaces can be a more efficient space to build community.

“I [also] believe that artists are essential workers and that art can be used to provide immediate and practical solutions to our social issues,” Nguyen added.

The definitions of hope written on feathers by local Downey residents on Nguyen’s art piece.
The definitions of hope written on feathers by local Downey residents on Nguyen’s art piece. Photo credit: Silas Bravo

Nguyen was issued a grant from the Eastside Arts Initiative and was then connected to the Stay Gallery, in Downey, who are her (physical) sponsors.

The Stay Gallery, 11140 Downey Ave, will also be holding an art exhibition displaying Nguyen’s piece “Weaving Hope” on May 20.

“We will open our exhibition called the ‘Resilience Project’, which is co-created by Nguyen and will feature seven other local artists,” said Canty, director of the Stay Gallery. “The exhibition will have drinks and music and will be a really fun event.”

The Stay Gallery is a non-profit organization that provides support and funding to local artists, youth and families; They feature art exhibitions and workshops out of their studio located in Downey.

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About the Contributor
Silas Bravo, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Silas Bravo is the Arts & Entertainment Editor for Talon Marks. This is Silas’ third semester at Talon Marks. Silas plays football for the Cerritos Falcons and hopes to transfer to a University on an athletic scholarship. Silas loves everything sports and spending time with friends and family.
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