For over twenty-five years, the Vietnamese-American photographer An-My Lê has been steadily redefining the tradition of documentary photography. Working in distinct series which span years, her photographs often blur the boundaries between the actual and its representation, fantasy and reality, fiction and truth, and embrace performance as a means to explore conflict and war, the military-industrial complex, and national identity through memory and place.
While researching Vietnam War reenactments, Lê stumbled upon a pornographic film titledGangbang Girl #26(2000). The film features men dressed up as Vietnam-era American GIs and two Asian women posing as Vietnamese sex workers. She found the set – a replica of a Vietnamese village – to be compelling, seeing parallels with some of her other series that focus on war reenactments. Lê decided to take stills of the film and turn them into tapestries made with cotton and embroidery floss. The series reflects upon issues of violence and power as well as the sexualization of women and race. Lê sees this contemplative handiwork, stitched by herself and her assistants in Brooklyn, as an act of resistance and mindfulness, a powerful slowing down that allows us to explore the construction of gender roles, ethnic identity, cultural history, and memory.
While working on this project, Lê and her team produced numerous samples of color scales using the embroidery floss and found them to be interesting in and of themselves. From these patterns, Lê chose four to be stitched onto t-shirt pockets and, in collaboration with professional seamstresses from Vietnam, produced as a small, limited edition. Each 100% cotton shirt includes a hand-stitched pocket square, and her initials “AML” printed onto the neckline with a hand stitched outline.
Crewneck, short sleeve, seamless tube, vintage fit 10.5 oz. ringspun cotton, 100% cotton, machine washable Hand-stitched pocket square design Unnumbered limited edition Available in S, M, L, XL, XXL