Tommy Kha

A collage of two different photographs. The larger photograph features the inside of a small, well-lit room with a kitchen counter in the foreground, a hand holding a cup visible, and in the background, there is a person wearing only underwear reclining on a bed. Only their back is visible, and in their hand is an upside-down mask of a photograph of a person’s face. On the left-hand corner, there is a smaller photograph of one person sitting on a couch with a mask of a person’s face here too. There is a smaller photograph of a femme-presenting person laying down within the initial small photograph.

Tommy Kha, Installation of Guise Like Me, NYC, 2021.
Courtesy of Nathalie Karg Gallery


I’m a cut of my mom.
Every photograph I make of her is a Half Self-Portrait.

  1. Older Country / China
  2. Old Country / Vietnam
  3. New Country / _______

The photographs of my mother is a collaboration, and at times, a performance between me as a camera operator, and her as, at first, an unwilling sitter. Drawing from her own photographs, made after fleeing Vietnam to Canada, the pictures are attempts to reconcile with inherited trauma and war, gleaming information of myself through familial strands.

Google: 我母亲的照片是一种合作,有时是我作为一名摄影师,而她最初是一个不情愿的保姆之间的一种表演。这些照片取材于她自己在逃离越南到加拿大后拍摄的照片,试图与遗传的创伤和战争调和,通过家庭线索闪烁着关于我自己的信息。

Wǒ mǔqīn de zhàopiàn shì yī zhǒng hézuò, yǒushí shì wǒ zuòwéi yī míng shèyǐng shī, ér tā zuìchū shì yīgè bù qíngyuàn de bǎomǔ zhī jiān de yī zhǒng biǎoyǎn. Zhèxiē zhàopiàn qǔcái yú tā zìjǐ zài táolí yuènán dào jiānádà hòu pāishè de zhàopiàn, shìtú yǔ yíchuán de chuāngshāng hé zhànzhēng tiáohé, tōngguò jiātíng xiànsuǒ shǎnshuòzhe guānyú wǒ zìjǐ de xìnxī.

Bing: 我母親嘅相係一次合作,有時係我作為相機操作員嘅表演,而佢起初係一個唔情願嘅保姆。 呢啲相取材於她自己逃離越南加拿大後拍攝的照片,試圖與遺傳嘅創傷和戰爭和解,透過家庭線索閃耀我自己嘅信息。

“The photo of my mother is a collaboration, sometimes a kind of show between me as a photographer and her initially as a reluctant nanny. Drawing on pictures she herself took after fleeing Vietnam to Canada, trying to reconcile with hereditary trauma and war, flashing messages about myself through family threads.”


A photograph featuring the seating area of a restaurant. In the foreground there are tan-colored tables and chairs, In the background, the wall of the restaurant features numerous identical plaques with fish on them, as well as a large framed photograph of a muted green landscape.

Tommy Kha, Construction (New Lins Chinese), Memphis, TN 2019.
From Facades

A collage with three different layers. The bottom-most image is a photograph of a restaurant. The wallpaper of the restaurant features a forest landscape, and on the wall there is a taxidermy of a stag. Turquoise-cushioned chairs and dark wooden tables fill the restaurant. Layered on top of this photograph is an image of a person with their face cut out of the photograph. A person’s hand is adjusting this piece in the bottom right-corner. In the bottom-left corner, there is a small photograph of a masc-presenting person reclining with their hand on their head.

Tommy Kha, Installation of Still Portraits and Self Lives, NYC 2021.
Courtesy of Nathalie Karg Gallery

A photograph depicting a room with a bed, folded blankets, and two different pieces of art on the wall. On the bed, an older woman is sleeping. Her face and body face the camera, and her arms are crossed. She’s wearing a blue sweater and a blanket covers her legs, her feet poking out.

Tommy Kha, Tree (Grandma Sleeping), Arlington, TN 2019.
From Soft Murders