Dorchester mural highlights Vietnamese immigrant experience

students looking at mural
Community members view the mural.

October 25, 2017 — A group of about 25 students and other members of the Harvard T.H. Chan School community recently took time off to celebrate the end of the Fall 1 term with a trip to view a new mural highlighting Vietnamese American refugee and immigrant experiences in Dorchester’s Fields Corner neighborhood. On the October 20 trip, sponsored by the School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the group met with artist Ngoc-Tran Vu and Tam Le, owner of Pho Hoa Restaurant, who donated a wall of his building for the project. Afterwards, the group enjoyed lunch at Pho Hoa and neighboring Reign Drink Lab.

students view muralThe mural weaves together symbols from Vietnamese culture with imagery of the Vietnamese immigrant community in Boston. Dorchester is home to the largest Vietnamese population in the state, with about 20,000 residents.

The trip gave students an opportunity to think about how to engage with the arts in public health, said Kim Truong, director of inclusion programs, who organized the trip. “While most of the students were not familiar with specific symbols within Vietnamese culture, they were able to ask questions to further elucidate and make meaning of the work.”

Amy Roeder

group lunch
Community members enjoy lunch at Pho Hoa Restaurant.

Photos: Kim Truong (1, 3), Diana Ha (2)

Read more about the mural: Community Activists Are Bringing a Huge Mural to Fields Corner in Dorchester (Boston magazine)