Monday, December 15, 2014

Legacies, leadership and the Lao literary arts at the Twin Cities Daily Planet

I have a new column in the Twin Cities Daily Planet this month discussing Lao legacies, leadership and the literary arts. How do we create events that are meaningful for our writers to advance in their skills and to find their audiences?

A significant portion of the article is drawn from my experience developing the National Lao American Writers Summit with Saymoukda Vongsay, Catzie Vilayphonh and Chanida Phaengdara, and also my experience with events such as the International Lao New Year, the Lao Artists Festival, Lao'd and Clear, the Five Senses Show of Lao and Hmong Art, Giant Lizard Theater and the Legacies of War: Refugee Nation Twin Cities interdisciplinary exhibition of 2010. There are many other events that I could turn to between 1996 to 2013 that informed my thoughts on this essay.

But the bottom line is that I believe we can and must do better for each other. We need to have a sense of pride in our work and what we can bring to the table. I don't want to see us striving merely to "catch up" but to instead be ahead of the curve and to build our own artistic traditions and methodology, one that's committed to excellence and innovation. Something that will say something interesting and entertaining.

Merely conveying data is not enough. We must go beyond that if we are to vindicate souls talking to souls.

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