Exploring the notion of cultural identity and the definition of home is central to the work of the French-Vietnamese artist, who is staging a solo exhibition, Racines, at Miaja Gallery this month. Whether it’s comfort food or soulful music, he shares what he finds inspiring and meaningful

1. Best-loved book: Mémoires: Les Champs de Braises

"An autobiography of Hélie de Saint Marc, this book talks about a man who deals with the problems of society. Essentially, it is also a story of destiny that I find touching. De Saint Marc was an important member of the French resistance army who was detained in the Buchenwald camp by the Nazis following a betrayal in the resistance. After the war, he joined the foreign legion to fight in Indochina, and then in Algeria until his stay in prison following the Putsch of Algiers. He led a colourful life—there was disillusionment but also moments of happiness and brotherhood."

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2. Go-to scent: Bel Ami d’Hermès

"This is a very chic and refined scent that’s part of a family of woody chypre fragrances. For me, it’s the praise of leather. From the top notes to the base notes, a leather-like scent is omnipresent. I always associate this singular fragrance with fidelity."

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3. Favourite food: Pho

"My favourite dish has to be pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup. It reminds me of my mother, who often made it for me."

4. The song that he works best to: Play Dead by Tom Walker

"Sometimes, without really knowing why, music can upset you and even give you the shivers. For months, I worked on my paintings to this song simply because I couldn’t stop listening to it. It’s not even the meaning of the lyrics—it’s purely my connection to its musicality, the resonance with my inner self, that held significance for me."

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5. His favourite hue: Red

"I use this colour a lot in my work. Red has long been considered the colour par excellence; the colour of blood and fire, of life and vigour, of authority and beauty. For me, red is the primary colour—without it, nothing happens. It’s the source of vitality and spirituality."

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