Friday, January 09, 2015

Lao Americans in the St. Paul Pioneer Press: Refuge of the Invisiblao

The Pioneer Press in Minnesota doesn't often cover Lao Americans even though there are at least 12,000 Lao Minnesotans according to the Census 2010, enough to make up a city the size of Monticello or Worthington. If the Lao Assistance Center estimates of nearly 24,000 is correct, that would be a city the size of Crystal.

So, it's exciting to see that the "Refuge of the InvisibLao" exhibit was covered this weekend by Debra O'Connor in "Minneapolis exhibit showcases Laotian-American art" with a focus on St. Paul resident and Lao American playwright Saymoukda Vongsay and Little Laos on the Prairie founding editor Chanida Phaengdara Potter. Vongsay is best known lately for her play Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals, and contributed her poem "Letter to My Unborn Self" to the exhibit.

I contributed my poems "Jaew," "Leuk Lao," "Commodity" and "At Home" to the exhibit which will be on display for two weeks at the Vine Art Center in South Minneapolis. This is the first exhibit and event of the year to celebrate and reflect on the 40 years of the Lao diaspora since the end of the conflict in 1975. Be sure to stop by the exhibit if you get a chance.

The exhibit will also include art by Chantala Kommanivanh who is braving the Midwestern snowstorms to participate this weekend. The event is free and open to the public.

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