Artist Calls on Vietnamese Students for Heritage Project

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Courtesy of Roger Colombik

‘The Burma Project’ reflects Roger Colombik’s interest in different cultures and communities. Colombik’s work will be displayed on the South Campus in the spring.

San Jacinto College South Campus Art Gallery will host a spring exhibition featuring the work of Roger Colombik, an art professor at Texas State University. However, the show will accompany a second presentation by Colombik, this time spotlighting Vietnamese heritage that will hang in the atrium of the Marie Flickinger Fine Arts Center. The artist is calling on members of the San Jac community to be part of his work.

In a letter distributed to students of Vietnamese heritage, Colombik asked for their participation to learn more about their lives and families. The artist said he chose to focus on the College’s Vietnamese population because of the existence of a thriving local community.

“The neighborhoods around San Jacinto College feature a well-established and productive Vietnamese presence,” he noted.

Moreover, he said he is fascinated with their family dynamics and how contemporary society affects beliefs, practices, and knowledge between the generations within a given community.

“With the younger generation, thoughts on the individuality and identity often come up in a manner that clarify the differences with their parents and grandparents,” he said. “I try to absorb it all.”

In previous projects, Colombik said he spent time with communities to learn about their lives, and although he lives in Wimberley, Colombik plans to make regular trips to Houston to meet with participating families.

“My goal is simply to have comfortable conversations with people, allowing the dialogue to traverse whatever path feels natural,” he said.

In Colombik’s terms, this project, as with other similar ventures, will involve collecting oral histories, photography, and quite a bit of writing, but he is careful to point out that he is mindful of his subjects’ sensitivities.

“I am respectful, welcoming the opportunity for portraiture, understanding when it is not appropriate,” he said. “I also welcome the inclusion of photographs from the people I am spending time with, allowing them to have a more direct participation in the project.”

Students interested in participating in Roger Colombik’s project can contact the artist at (512) 574-9543 or RC26@txstate.edu.