Do not laminate this cardMixed media, votive paper, laminate | 2018
I still remember the first time a U.S. government worker scolded me for laminating my social security card. He embarrassed me in front of the entire line by pointing out that I couldn’t read the instructions on the back. I went home imagining my parents laminating all of their government papers in order to secure their citizenship in this foreign land.
This ongoing body of drawings began shortly after my first trip to the motherland. I miss you Vietnam.
Not Sorry for the TroubleHand and laser cut color paper | 2019
This series is a response to the shared AAPI experience of intergenerational trauma, as well as a challenge to the stereotypical notions that AAPIs are silent, apolitical, and submissive. The cut paper forms are delicate and incredibly detailed, the medium a nod to the Chinese origin of the paper cutting art form. The shadows of the cut paper forms elevate the pieces from the physical flatness and provide a mesmerizing effect for the viewer from all angles. Each piece has a dedicated spotlight that emphasizes an illusioned physical depth, an elucidation of Bui’s message about aspects of the AAPI and AAPI LGBTQIA+ community.
Khanh Aiden NguyễnHand cut paper | 2019
Carving into the white surface, an emerging figure is slowly revealed. The result is an illumination and reclamation of invisibilized Queer and Trans APIA narratives. Aiden is the co-founder of Vanguard, a LGBTQIA+ Zine for Vietnamese artists, designers and creatives. Through the process of hand-cutting, Aiden’s tattoos, pose, and constant state of becoming is preserved and honored. Compared to my other pieces, this one remains largely uncut, allowing space for the viewer to imagine all that’s unseen. I am continually inspired to revisit Aiden as my subject in the same way that one returns to a place or a thought as a form of witnessing our endless possibilities.
Stay with meHand cut paper | 2020
Hold my hand
There’s no need
To be brave
So often those who identify as APIA must do so as a negation, disputing what they aren’t. This portrait of Z and jas lin refuses to adhere to convention, putting a moment of unapologetically queer tenderness and embrace on display. Similar to many of my works, this piece honors unique ways of adornment and self-determination through careful attention to patterns, motifs, symbols, and the subtle colors reflecting against the white wall. The title are lyrics from I Will by Mitski.
Antonius Bui is a polydisciplinary artist and shapeshifter invested in the transformative potential of ritual, portraiture, craft, and performance. Their ever-glitching identity as a queer, nonbinary, Vietnamese-American significantly informs the way they visualize hybrid identities and histories.
They are the child of Paul and Van Bui, two Vietnamese refugees who sacrificed everything to provide a future for their four kids and extended family. Born and raised in Bronx, NY, Antonius eventually moved to Houston before pursuing a BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MIC/A).
Since graduating in 2016, Antonius has been fortunate to receive fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Kala Art Institute, Tulsa Artists Fellowship, Halcyon Arts Lab, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Yaddo, Anderson Center at Tower View, The Growlery, Jentel, and Fine Arts Work Center.
Antonius has exhibited at various institutional, private, public, and underground venues, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, IA&A at Hillyer, Lawndale Art Center, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Artscape, Satellite Art Fair Austin, Blaffer Art Museum, Laband Art Gallery, USC’s Pacific Asia Museum, Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, and Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building.
(Headshot photo credit: Caroline Xia)