"My childhood was uncomplicated. Media had yet to play a role in our lives. It was only really after 9/11 that we lost that innocence."
"I'd be surrounded all day by kids from a mainly English ancestry so that sometimes it would even be a kind of surprise to walk past a mirror or collect a school photo, and realise how different I looked to all my peers."
I vividly remember going into bookstores and really yearning to have a book of my own on that bookshelf. I still remember now how much I wanted it...how badly I wanted it for myself.
I think I’ve done a little more processing than my father of what it means to be a minority in Australia.
"In Malaysia there is a word that they call foreign/caucasian people and that is mat salleh. I would always be considered the mat salleh. They would refer to me as that like it was my name."
"Prior to moving here we thought ‘everyone speaks English, this won’t be much of an adjustment’. It was a massive adjustment"
"In Australia I was not an expat, I was an immigrant and that is a different relationship."
Culture is a very complex thing, it’s very hard to critique it as well because it’s the water we swim in.
"I wouldn’t call myself completely Australian, I wouldn’t call myself completely Vietnamese. I straddle the two cultures and combining them actually gives me a greater sense of identity."
"I remember early on some of my friends saying, ‘Why are you that colour?’. I went home and I asked my mum why I was a different colour and she said, ‘We left you on St Kilda beach and you got burnt!’, so I went back to school and told everyone."
''I remember when my youngest brother was about six and he told me that it doesn’t matter what people look like on the outside because everybody’s heart is the same colour.
Children are wise.''
André Dao lives a life immersed in narrative. Dao co-founded the oral history project Behind The Wire, a non-for-profit organisation documenting the first hand stories people detained by the Australian government whilst seeking asylum.
"If you're going to put me in a show just so you can have that one "token” black model with dreds, to keep everyone quiet, then I'd rather not. We are not tokens, wake up Australia!"...read more.
"I was lucky in that the university community normalised ethnic diversity without us even realising it. We all went to the same school, so it was a bit like the United Nations crossing the street every morning."...read more
'Burlesque has helped me get over many distortions that I had over my body. As an art form that embodies all shapes and sizes'...read more.
'It was kind of confusing growing up constantly seeing pretty much every person who looked like me in the media actually existed in such a different world to the one I did.'...read more
Both Afro-diaspora and Indigenous people share written histories that have been authored by the explorers that colonised their ancestral land and diminished their societies - finding power in words Afrika Speaks Back aimed to set the record straight and the stories too...read more.
'...when you come from a place of strength, and you go ‘we exist over here, outside of the main stream and we’re going to practice our culture, and we’re going to create art and do these things’, you will one; service your own community and two; naturally find an audience with other people because it’s authentic and real' ...read more
"When I’m advertising or talking, I say I am a minimal designer – but there is nothing minimal about the process that goes on there. My clothing presents a simple logic, that I cannot communicate in any other art form."...read more.
"When you are overseas you are to an extent defined by your nationality, you become an Australian."
"My childhood (up til 14) was fun and fraught, full of football, fights, and video games, MiniDiscs and Pokemon, Power Rangers, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, weird mainstream English soaps and dope independent British cinema."