Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Happy birthday to Lao American writer Catzie Vilayphonh!

Today for ‪‎Lao American Artist Heritage Month,‬ we wish happy birthday to legendary, award-winning Catzie Vilayphonh of Yellow Rage and Laos In The House!

With roots in Vientiane and Philly, she's one of the co-founders of the National Lao American Writers Summit. She's been an active member of the Asian Arts Initiative, working with her Yellow Rage co-founder Michelle Myers to produce the Family Style Open Mic for emerging and established AAPI spoken word artists in the Philadelphia area.

As a founding member of the group Yellow Rage, she was one of the first Asian American females to appear on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Here's one of her groundbreaking spoken word pieces from the show in 2002:


Through her work, she provides an awareness not often heard, drawing from personal narrative. In 2013 she received the Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Award to start “Laos In The House” a project which aims to promote story-telling in the Lao American community through the mediums of art. This culminated into the curation of a multi-disciplinary gallery exhibit and performance showcase featuring work by other Lao American artists which debuted in Philadelphia in 2015.

Currently she is an Artist in Residence with the Mural Arts of Philadelphia’s Southeast by Southeast Program. Throughout her artistic career Catzie has become a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Award recipient, a 2012 Creative Capital finalist and a 4-time Leeway Foundation honoree.

In addition to her ongoing organizing efforts with the National Lao American Writer Summit, she's an active volunteer with the Lao Family Community Organization of Philadelphia. A child of refugees, Catzie was born in camp, on the way to America and thus considers herself part of the “.5 Generation”.

Here's to all that she's done, and the great things yet ahead for her!

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