By Nhàn Tran (Vietnam)

By Nhàn Tran
Recipient of the Objectifs Documentary Award, Emerging Category
Presented as a culmination of the Objectifs Documentary Award

Lower Gallery, Objectifs
24 Mar to 17 Apr 2022
Free admission

Artist Talk: Nhàn Tran and Hannah Reyes Morales
Wednesday 6 April 2022, 8pm. Held on Zoom. Register here

Artist Tours: Between the Silent Eyes and The Black Dog Which Causes Cholera and the Two Memorials of Plague
Friday 8 April 2022, 5pm to 6.30pm. Held at Objectifs. Register here.

Artist Talk: Nhàn Tran and Juliana Tan
Saturday 9 April 2022, 2pm to 3.30pm. Held at Objectifs. Register here.

Read an interview with Nhàn Tran here.
Read a recap of Nhàn Tran’s artist talks with Hannah Reyes Morales and Juliana Tan here.
View the captions for the exhibition here.

Since 2019, Vietnamese photographer Nhàn Tran has been documenting the stories of young mothers in the Hmong community in Hà Giang province, Vietnam.

The Hmong are one of the largest indigenous minority groups in Vietnam, and mostly reside in the mountainous regions of North Vietnam. They are also amongst the most impoverished communities in Vietnam, and traditionally lead an agrarian lifestyle, with many families eking out a living by farming the land. Their strongly patriarchal, patrilineal culture often sees women shoulder the bulk of domestic labour and childcare, with little to no say in family decisions.

Despite national laws that state that marriage can only lawfully take place at the age of 18 for women and 20 for men, Hmong girls frequently marry before they reach a legal age, and bear children soon after. Nhàn Tran’s long-term project aims to explore the lives of these young women as they are forced to grow up before their time, navigating their roles as wives, mothers and daughters-in-law, even as they hold on to their dreams and hopes. Many of them aspire to move to larger cities and towns to earn a higher wage, to provide a better life for their families and escape the cycle of poverty.

In addition to images of several young women whom Nhàn Tran has been photographing over the years, this exhibition showcases a deep dive into the life of one of her subjects, Máy. The images illustrate Máy’s resilience and precarity as she deals with the challenges of raising a family at the age of 19. Her situation is shared by numerous young Hmong women, who similarly grapple with the difficulties of balancing traditional practices with modern needs, and their own youthful nature with familial duty.

Above all, the project underlines the importance of hearing from and caring for unrepresented and vulnerable communities, amid a wider movement towards social, economic and gender equality.

As part of the Objectifs Documentary Award, Nhàn Tran was mentored by Hannah Reyes Morales. 

Presented by Objectifs
Supported by the Cultural Matching Fund

Special thanks:
Hannah Reyes Morales
Kamiliah Bahdar
Veejay Villafranca
Guo-Liang Tan

About the photographer
Nhàn Tran is a documentary photographer with a focus on long-term projects featuring social issues in Vietnam. She is currently working on several new stories about minority groups, exploring social concerns that relate to Vietnam’s national development. She received the National Geographic Emergency Funding grant (2021) and participated in the Women Photograph Mentorship Programme (2021- 2022), the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop (2021) and VII Masterclass: Project Development: Finding Vision and Voice (2020).

Nhàn Tran’s work can be seen at and @nhaantrann on Instagram.

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