Film director Trinh T. Minh-ha on a film shoot, Photo credit: Jean-Paul Bourdier

TRINH T. Minh-ha

Berkeley, CA

TRINH T. Minh-ha received the Creative Capital Award in 2024. Her work includes: nine feature-length films (What About China? 2022, Forgetting Vietnam 2016, Night Passage 2004, The Fourth Dimension 2001, A Tale of Love 1996, Shoot for the Contents, 1991, Surname Viet Given Name Nam, 1989, Naked Spaces, 1985, and Reassemblage, 1982); honored in seventy retrospectives around the world; large-scale multimedia installations: Traveling in the Dark (Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2022-23), The Ocean in A Drop. (Württembergische Kunstverein, Stuttgart 2022), In Transit (Manifesta13, Marseille 2020) L’Autre marche (Musée du Quai Branly, Paris 2006-2009), Old Land New Waters (GuangzhouTriennial 2008, Okinawa Museum of Fine Arts 2007), The Desert is Watching (KyotoBiennial 2003); and fifteen books, such as Traveling in the Dark (2023), The Twofold Commitment (2023), Lovecidal. Walking with The Disappeared (2016), D-Passage. The Digital Way (2013), Elsewhere, Within Here (2011), Cinema Interval (1999), and Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism (1989).

Her many awards include: 2014 Wild Dreamer Lifetime Achievement, Subversive FilmFestival, Zagreb; 2012 Lifetime Achievement, Women’s Caucus for Art; 2012 Critics Choice Book, American Educational Studies Association; 2006 Trailblazers Award, MIPDoc in Cannes; 1991 AFI National Independent Filmmaker Maya Deren Award. Her latest film won: New:Vision (CPH:DOXCopenhagen); Persistence of Vision (San Francisco); Prix Bartók (Paris); Inspiration (LosAngeles); Special Commendation (BFI London); Presidential Award (RoyalAnthropological Institute Great Britain and Ireland)

Film director Trinh T. Minh-ha on a film shoot, Photo credit: Jean-Paul Bourdier


TRINH T. Minh-ha

Film director, poet, writer, music composer, literary critic, art and film theorist, Distinguish Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley.

Artist Bio

It is said that wherever we go in the ‘desert,’ we find more than we seek. “What beautifies the desert is that it hides a well somewhere,” says The Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. As visible as the desert is, it remains radically unseen. No matter how often we return to its unbounded landscapes to drink in the sight, the secret of their power to quench our endless need for refreshment and renewal remains inexhaustible. The film invites the viewer to see America through its vast ‘deserts’—Utah, Nevada and California. Inspired in its treatment by indigenous practices of living, it features the ‘desert,’ physically and spiritually as an untellable poem that is always being told—both as a colonial construct and a site of ongoing creativity.

Native Americans of ancient often see the desert as an infinite container for ever-deeper streams of life, where healing, cleansing and transmutation of the earth-self are likely to happen. One is drawn to the desert by the lure of something one thinks one has lost in the other desert—which urban life often is in its inhumaneness. The desert wilderness reminds us both of our ability as humans to create, and of the dangers involved in every passionately creative act. While experiencing the splendor of a beauty that is all-too-visible on screen, one may unexpectedly catch a glimpse of an innerscape of extremes, whose bare and wild truths require that one listens afresh to the secret melody of the earthen body.

Award Year

In Progress