March 2005

Viet Nam & Cuba

Newspace Center for Photography presents: Viet Nam & Cuba – the images of Julie Thi Underhill and Niki Polyocan.

Julie Thi Underhill
[artist website]

Born in 1976 to a refugee mother from Viet Nam and an American father, Julie Thi Underhill photographed Viet Nam in 1999 while meeting family and again in 2001 during a war study seminar. In addition to the ethnic Vietnamese Kinh, Julie’s portraits include the Cham and the Hmong, two of Viet Nam’s fifty-three minorities that comprise, within one country, the richest and most complicated ethnic distribution in all of Southeast Asia.

CUBA¬†–¬†Niki Polyocan

Niki Polyocan has been shooting documentary photographs for about 7 years and has studied with Mary Ellen Mark, Alex Webb and Ernesto Bazan. This particular body of work was shot while studying with photojournalist Alex Webb in February 2004 in Havana, Cuba

“I am constantly exploring the concept of the phase of life where a young girl is learning what it means to become a woman. While this theme isn’t present throughout all of the images shown, it is an idea that I visit with many of my pictures both in this series and others. The visual landscape of Havana provided such a rich and dramatic backdrop for the type of work I like to do. I try to capture an honesty and an intimacy with my photographs that will make the viewer connect with my subjects on some level.”