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Embrace Your Golden Cracks

Artist: Quynh Nhu Nguyen

Ethnicity: Vietnamese

“Embrace Your Golden Cracks” is an acrylic painting. This painting was inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi - 金継ぎ, where the broken ceramics and pottery are repaired using lacquer and gold dust, leading to a new creation even more beautiful than the previous one. Rather than discarding a broken ceramic or hiding its cracks, kintsugi embraces its flaws and accentuates every crack and fragment with shiny gold dust. Through this painting, I hope to inspire others to see themselves as beautiful ceramics, new creations, born from their suffering and difficulty.


Many times I felt hopeless, trapped, and isolated as I went through struggles and difficulties during my life. I didn’t know why these things happened to me, or how to make sense of it. I thought I could never heal from it or become the perfect person that society or people around me wanted me to be - the perfect child, the perfect student, the perfect Asian. I wanted to get better and start over, but it seemed the past and its consequences kept dragging me back. Should I have resigned to this life of failure and despair till the end?


By fate I discovered the photo of a kintsugi vase, and just like that, it spoke to me that I too was a broken ceramic. Yet unlike my negative thoughts and self-pitying, this time I can be mended anew. It calls out to me to embrace my flaws, sufferings, joys, hopes, bad and good experiences and become a new person. It’s a matter of perspective, of molding my mind to see the golden cracks that shine through my body and soul. It tells me to be patient with myself and let’s mend the broken and beautiful bits of myself and my life together, accentuating my imperfection and turning myself into a new work of art. With this project, I became in touch with myself and recognized the importance of tending to the wound of our mind and soul. With every stroke of colors and shape, I found peace and excitement of rediscovering my hidden aspiration and long forgotten memories. I learned that mental health and sufferings are hidden wounds that we don’t recognize within ourselves and others.


To my audience: As you observe this painting, I hope you have fun discovering hidden motifs and meditate on your own life stories. Just as light and darkness, yellow and purple embrace each other, so too does your sadness and joy, success and failures join in harmony. You must keep on living, taking care of yourself, have compassion for others, and know that your imperfection too is beautiful. You are never a pile of failure only meant for discard. Your suffering, experience, joy, hope, and dream are all that make you the beautiful and one-of-kind creation in this world! Through the art of kintsugi, I hope that you will find peace, comfort, and hope in your life. See how your golden cracks glisten in the light and shine through darkness!

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