Bao Quyen Phan Tran
Illustrator & Mural Artist
Also co-founder of
Digital Creative Marketing, s.r.o.

Studio DC Space in Prague.


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The Mulard  -  Lost in Translation:  Rediscovering Vietnamese Heritage

Apr 19 2023


What is The Mulard?


The project I decided to do is named "The Mulard". The name of this topic draws inspiration from the way my parents used to address me when I was young. They referred to me as "vịt lai ngan," which is a combination of two different types of domestic ducks. Initially, I associated this term with a negative meaning, as it was used when I didn't fully understand something in Vietnamese. However, I have since chosen to embrace this nickname instead of feeling upset about it. The term represents the fact that I am a cultural hybrid, with connections to both Vietnamese heritage and the country I was born in. As a "mulard," I acknowledge that I don't possess complete cultural knowledge of either culture. Instead, I embody the cultural identity of those who have a mixed heritage with a connection to Vietnamese roots.

The main product of this project is a small box with 20 educational (informational) and 40 conversational cards that are meant to actively engage, inform, and educate second generation of Vietnamese immigrants about their Vietnamese heritage. The cards cover a wide range of topics, including traditions, festivals, history, and contemporary subjects.

Video trailer is here:  https://www.instagram.com/p/Cs8k_BKPxBk/




Context


When I was small, I always wanted to look like my classmates and was sad that I don't come from a Czech family as well. As someone born in the Czech Republic, I always felt more Czech because my first language is Czech and all of my friends were Czech as well. But to them, it was confusing, because I certainly didn't look like them and my parents were way more stricter than theirs so there were often some misunderstandings created between us. On the other side, when I'm with my Vietnamese family, it's really hard for me to speak up and tell them what my thoughts are or what I feel. They often told me that I'm "vịt lai ngan", which is in english called a mulard. A mulard is a cross between two different kinds of domestic ducks and the meaning of it is that I'm neither this or that, I'm a mix. I always felt like I was living in two worlds and behaved differently with my Vietnamese or Czech identity. And I'm sure that most of my friends who are a part of the Vietnamese diaspora are experiencing this "split of identity" as well. It took me some time to realize that both of these "personas" are a part of me and part of my identity. I learnt to accept it over time and instead of looking at it as a disadvantage, I started to embrace it and explore it more.

That's how the journey of rediscovering my Vietnamese heritage began. While looking for more and more information about my culture, I discovered that many of my peers have very little knowledge of Vietnamese history, traditions, and culture. Then I was wondering, I us - the second generation of Vietnamese immigrants are already losing touch to their cultural background, then what about the third generation? Therefore, I decided to create a project that would help the second and latter generations to educate themselves about basic knowledge regarding culture, history and traditions. My goal was to create something interactive, consumable and "happy to look at".




Educational Cards (Informational)


Inside this box, you will discover a total of 20 educational (informational) cards, each visually adorned with an illustration that vividly represents a particular topic. These cards have been thoughtfully crafted to provide concise and accessible explanations, enabling you to effortlessly grasp the essence of each subject. By delving into these cards, you will deepen your understanding of Vietnamese heritage, culture, and history, broadening your knowledge and appreciation.

Harness the power of these cards as your gateway to learning more about Vietnamese heritage and culture. Share these cards with your peers, engaging them in insightful discussions, or initiate enlightening conversations with your parents and other family members who share an interest in exploring these captivating topics.

Once you have absorbed the knowledge presented in these cards, the pack of 40 conversational cards included in this package will serve as a catalyst for connection and shared experiences with individuals of Vietnamese heritage.

May these cards become a source of inspiration, fostering connections, and fostering a deeper appreciation of Vietnamese heritage, culture, and history. Let them guide you on a transformative journey of discovery and enlightenment.

Cards illustrations:




Conversation Cards


You will discover not only the set of educational cards, but also an additional 40 conversation cards featuring thought-provoking questions in both English and Vietnamese. These cards are designed to spark engaging conversations and facilitate meaningful interactions.

The conversational cards serve as excellent icebreakers, encouraging participants to delve into a wide range of topics. They cover a diverse array of subjects, aligning with the themes depicted on the 20 educational cards included in the box. From history to art and culture, the questions prompt exploration and discussion, fostering a deeper understanding of various subjects.

Whether you're using these cards in a classroom setting, social gatherings, or even one-on-one conversations, they provide a platform for stimulating and enjoyable exchanges. The inclusion of both English and Vietnamese questions ensures accessibility and inclusivity, allowing users from different linguistic backgrounds to engage in meaningful dialogue.

As you explore this collection of conversational and educational cards, we encourage you to leverage the connections between them. The conversational cards are carefully tailored to complement the educational cards, creating a cohesive experience that combines learning and interpersonal communication.






Final Look of the Exhibition


The exhibition took place at PCU Campus Hybernská 24 and was named "Where are you going? Where have you been?" I also brought some traditional Vietnamese decorations like lanterns, paper constructions meant for praying or lunar new year envelopes for money. I felt that the whole exhibition should look colourful so I also brought red lights. The main product (box and cards) was displayed on the table beside it.