Forecast Public Art is excited to announce its newest public art project on University Ave, Echoing Voices, a billboard installation by artist, Kao Lee Thao. With support from the Jerome Foundation, Forecast Public Art selected Thao from a pool of local applicants to create a design for a billboard at the intersection of University Avenue and Cleveland in St. Paul. Thao chose to use the public visibility of the project to create a visual dialog about a topic close to her life, the Hmong Secret War.
â€œI was one of the first Hmong children born in America, each year my birth is a constant reminder of those who were left behind and continue to fight for my freedom. My aspiration was to create a painted billboard that speaks out about the injustices of the remaining Hmong soldiers called Freedom Fighters from the â€œSecret Warâ€ during the Vietnam War.
Inspired by Hmong textiles and vibrant colors of my culture I divided the billboard representing the two worlds I live in. My spirit is still trapped in the Jungles of Laos and my soul is in America living out my dreams. I want to inspire young minds to pursue their passion, but remind us not to forget how we won our freedom to America. I hope someday we can end the â€œSecret Warâ€ and bring peace to those remaining in Laos still fightingâ€¦â€ – Kao Lee Thao,
The Echoing Voices and a companion website (www.echoingvoices.com) will be installed on Monday September 21, 2009 and will remain on view through November at the intersection of University Avenue and Cleveland in St. Paul, MN.