The donut shop has always been more than our livelihood - it is where our lives happened. Where most summer afternoons were spent. Where we returned from family weddings and birthday parties at the end of the night. For some years, where we had Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It's more of a childhood home than the actual home we've lived in since I was a toddler, as my parents purchased the shop when they got married over 30 years ago. Michelle Sou, Olympic Donuts #11, East Los Angeles, CA Huynh’s current work is informed by her experience as a refugee of Cambodian and Chinese descent from Vietnam. Inspired by her family’s migration story, personal research, and interviews with Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees and immigrants, Huynh makes drawings on pink donut boxes and cross-stitches images of personalized California license plates with unanglicized names. Her work unpacks the complexities of immigration, displacement, and cultural assimilation. Each drawing or cross-stitched piece is meant to be a sensitive portrayal of a unique personal story. Close to 90% of California’s donut shops are mom-and-pop businesses run by Cambodian immigrants or Cambodian Americans (Khmericans). The trend that links pink boxes with donuts can be traced back to the Khmerican donut ecosystem. Ultimately, Huynh’s work is rooted in the practice to unravel ideas of cultural representations and stereotypes, to challenge how we consume and interpret ethnographic signifiers, and to de-center whiteness in constructing visual and historical narratives.


  • Title: Michelle Sou
  • Creator: Phung Huynh
  • Date Created: 2021
  • Medium: Serigraph

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