In our social, interactive, participatory, geolocated, attention-economy times, we rely on a number of digital networks to conduct our lives. Yet the neighborly practice of calling across the hall for support or collaboration remains an important way of connecting that sustains artmaking in our communities.
Northern Lights.mn partners with several art organizations, including Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), Juxtaposition Arts, and the Somali Museum of Minnesota, to invite artists working in deeply embedded ways in their communities to talk about the possible roles technology may play in their work, both in aesthetics and engagement.
This series is presented in concert with Art(ists) on the Verge, a year-long, intensive, mentor-based fellowship for emerging artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture.
In Conversation: Tou Yia Xiong, Kao Lee Thao, Sieng Lee
Presented in collaboration with Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT)
Thursday, Nov. 19, 7 pm
Location: CHAT, 995 University Ave W #220, St Paul, MN 55104
RSVP via Facebook
Graphic design, animation, illustration, public art, sculpture, installation, drawing. These are the varied art forms practiced by three Hmong American artists whose work holds a common tendency to push boundaries while honoring cultural roots.
Listen as they present their work and converse about the current and future states of public, digital and technology-based art in the Hmong community.
Tou Yia Xiong is an illustrator and designer working across multiple creative disciplines. He has experience in graphic design, game development, and product design. By day he is an award-winning children’s toy designer at The Manhattan Toy Company. By night, he is a creative ninja, doing freelance work, exploring art community engagements, and tinkering on personal and collaborative projects. When he is not creating, he enjoys playing frisbee with his dog Momo!
Kao Lee Thao began her journey when her mother crossed the Mekong River while she was cradled in her womb. Her family escaped to America in 1976 with only $5 in their pocket to begin a new life; settling in La Crescent, Minnesota. Kao Lee’s arrival to the world created another journey for her mother across the Mississippi River to give birth in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Water and travel have become central ideas in her paintings. Her work is infused with an expressively fluid style that allows viewers to travel into the past and see the echo of Hmong folktales, themes, and patterns passed down verbally from generation to generation in the Hmong culture.
“Art is an inspired Echo of human existence.”
Sieng Lee is an installation artist and designer interested in creating work related to his refugee experience as a first generation Hmong American. Lee’s work reflects and questions the changes that are happening within his community as assimilation becomes inevitable. He is interested in the amount of cultural content generated by Hmong Americans, in academia and in social spaces like the web, media, politics, and events. He is a National Addy winner, designed the We Are Hmong Minnesota exhibit at the Minnesota Historical Society, and recipient of the 2015 Jerome Foundation Fellowships for Emerging Artists.