Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thanks to the Lao Artists Festival of Elgin, IL

A big thanks to everyone who helped make the Lao Artists Festival of Elgin, Illinois a success. During this time, many Lao American artists were recognized and thanked by the community, including Minnesotans Mali Kouanchao and myself. I received the Literacy Award from the Lao Professionals of Illinois. It was a unique honor and privilege.

Saymoukda Vongsay, Catzie Vilayphonh and DJ Kool Akiem all journeyed with me, and there many other familiar faces in attendance.

The festival gathered many amazing artists from other fields, including acclaimed photographer Khampha Bouaphanh, the Kinnaly Dance Troupe of Seattle, Alex San Dinero, Mino Sundara, fashion designer Kevin Vong and Thavisouk Phrasavath, just before he won the Emmy.

Ajahn Malavanh Douangphoumy and Ajahn Bounseung Synanonh amazed the audience with their traditional musical forms, as did Sisavanh & Oulinthong Sihanath, a husband and wife team who practice traditional jewelry, sculpture and other plastic arts.

Refugee Nation's Ova Saopeng and Leilani Chan came after a whirlwind 3-state journey in 2 weeks, and we also saw legendary singers Voradeth Ditthavong and Silavong Keo recognized by the community as well for lifetime achievements. Gumby performed and Vannasone Keodara served as the MC with Mino Sundara.

We all said goodbye to Nor Sanavongsay, who will be moving to San Francisco and the Bay Area soon, but we're also hoping finding time to finish his Kiwi the Koala project and the long-awaited Xieng Mieng stories as well. It was a great conclusion to an epic month of Lao arts across the country. Thanks to everyone who's been a part of this!

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