All posts tagged: Saymoukda Vongsay

Lao American Writers Summit and making a case for the arts

Seven years ago Catzie Vilayphonh, Bryan Thao Worra and I co-founded the Lao American Writers Summit. Lead by Bryan we were able to raise funds and support from foundations, state agencies, individuals, and businesses. LAWS could not have happened without that initial support. In order to understand the significance of LAWS, you have to first understand the circumstances of Laotian communities. We came here as refugees. Survivors of the Secret War in Laos – a proxy conflict of the Vietnam War. Anti-communist Laotians fought on the side of the CIA. Thousands of Laotians were sent to re-education/labor camps, the lucky ones only saw their friends executed. My father, uncles, and grandfather escaped labor camps. After the fall of Long Chieng, an exodus of Laotians fled Laos, sought safety at refugee camps in neighboring countries. Since the late 70s, there are approximately 240,000 Laotian Americans nationally with roughly 12,000 calling Minnesota home. Unlike many of our APIA artist communities, Laotian artists more or less work in isolation as they are likely the only Laotian artist in …

Notes From An Imagined Future: CTRL+ALT In New York

“How do you imagine your future?” That was the question over 10,000 people were asked over the weekend of November 11-12 in New York as part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop up museum entitled “Ctrl+Alt: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures.” Visitors met with over 40 local and visiting artists, including Lao American artists Saymoukda Douangphouxay Vongsay and Bryan Thao Worra as they transformed the old Pearl River Mart in New York’s Soho district into a dynamic space for expression and the exchange of ideas. The artists transformed two floors of the old store into an interactive gallery of diverse views on possible futures. As the curators noted “even those who have long been pushed to the margins are the center of someone’s universe.” Saymoukda Douangphouxay Vongsay presented excerpts from her forthcoming play, Kung Fu Zombies vs. Shaman Warrior. Her play will explore trauma, healing, and mental health through the lens of speculative theater. She gave a surreal reading clad in all white, augmented by an evocative animation created by New York-based artist Matty Huynh. Following …