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THE FINAL WEEK: 5 Reasons the Refuge of the InvisibLao Exhibit is a must-see

Lao Diaspora Project pieces by Chantala Kommanivanh

Did you catch our Lao Diaspora Project exhibit? In our first event celebrating 40 years of Lao American journeys, the opening night reception on a freezing Saturday, January 10th drew in crowds from the Twin Cities area. DJ Paradoxx spun homegrown beats with throwback to Lao classics. Award-winning artist, Chantala Kommanivanh, talked about his process in re-creating the art pieces from photo submissions. Mae Banlang Phommasouvanh, Lao PTA founder and youth educator, shared her life’s story through an illustrated book that her elementary school students self-published. Founding Editor, Chanida Phaengdara Potter, shared moments from the interesting conversations she had with Lao Diaspora, while collecting stories from Laos to Minnesota.

“It was an amazing and uplifting exhibit. I never saw the history of our people in this artistic and literary way. I started asking myself questions and seeing myself in some of those same photos of my first few years starting new in America.” -Exhibit Guest

Lao Diaspora Project exhibit

Lao Diaspora Project exhibit

DJ Paradoxx at the turn tables

DJ Paradoxx at the turn tables

Photo transfers by Chantala Kommanivanh

Photo transfers by Chantala Kommanivanh

Mae Banlang shares her story with the audience

Mae Banlang shares her story with the audience

Visual essay by Chanida Phaengdara Potter

Visual essay by Chanida Phaengdara Potter

Still need more reasons to go?

Top 5 Reasons the Refuge of the InvisibLao Exhibit is a Must-See

  1. Catch the acclaimed work of neo-expressionist artist, Chantala Kommanivanh. The pieces are truly reflective of an amazing artistic style that holds a blend of street art, mix media and boldness from a Lao American perspective. Many of the originals have been sold and will be going to their permanent homes after the exhibit is over. Catch a glimpse of them before they’re really gone.
  2. Browse a mini museum of Laos’ history from LLOTP’s archives. There are rare and somewhat unauthorized (Lao PDR-only) historical images that photojournalists of the Vietnam War era were allowed to capture. These were acquired through E-bay from media archival agencies. Some of the images included are from ‘samana’ re-education camps and inside refugee camps in Thailand.
  3. Did we mention poetry, sculptures, and storytelling portraits are also in the exhibit? LLOTP isn’t just a bunch of bLaoggers with something to say. The exhibit says something for everyone and is reflective of the many great Lao American artists in our community.
  4. Educate yourself a bit more about Laos, the Lao Diaspora right next door and our shared history. It’s not just about culture and the people. It’s also not just a sad and brown narrative. It’s our experiences on space, identity, and culture re-imagined into these galleries of pieces. Until any funding continues to make this exhibit happen again and on a bigger scale, this is it, folks.
  5. This is the first ever national exhibit that showcases the many perspectives and narratives on the experiences of the past 40 years of Lao Diaspora journeys. The exhibit is a mass showcase of everything and everyone. It doesn’t just include Lao Americans, but Lao Aussies, Lao French, Lao Canadians and even Lao Argentinians. It sparks the conversation about the past, present and future. It’s truly a unique and diverse visual essay.
Vine Arts Center is located inside the Ivy Arts Building

Vine Arts Center is located inside the Ivy Arts Building

WHAT: Refuge of the InvisibLao Exhibit

WHEN: Exhibition runs January 10-24, 2015 with gallery hours from 1:00pm-6:00pm daily (except closed on Sunday, January 18th, and closing Saturday, January 24th by noon).

WHERE: Vine Arts Center on 2637 27th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55406 (2nd level of Ivy Arts Building in Seward neighborhood). From I-94 heading East: Take I-94 East, exit Hiawatha Ave/55 E, left on E 26th St, right on 27th Ave S. Ivy Building for the Arts on left side. Park on street or in back. From I-94 heading West: Take I-94 West, exit Riverside Ave (235A toward 25th Ave), left on 25th Ave S, left on E 26th St, right on 27th Ave S. Ivy Building for the Arts on left side. Park on street or in back.

CONTACT: Chanida Phaengdara Potter or editor@littlelaos.org or call 612-460-5559. Learn more about the project here.

-Chanida Phaengdara Potter, editor@littlelaos.org

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