MINNEAPOLIS — Explore the journey of the Lao community with the new exhibit “Refuge of the InvisibLao: A Visual Essay”, on January 10 to 24, 2015 at the Vine Arts Center, 2637 — 27th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406. This is the first event of the year in the country to examine the Lao Americans in Diaspora.
An opening storytelling reception will be held Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, from 5 to 8 p.m.
The “Refuge of the InvisibLao” exhibit will feature original art, historic photography, and storytelling to celebrate 40 years of the Lao in the US. The exhibit is organized by the journal Little Laos on the Prairie, the Laos In the House organization and the Lao American artist Chantala Kommanivanh.
They have been working since 2010 to gather the stories of the Lao community, who first came to the US after the end of the Lao civil war in 1975. Many people do not understand the complex history or culture of the Lao in the United States. Minnesota is home to the 3rd largest population of Lao refugees in the US with 12,000 to 24,000 living there based on figures from the U.S. Census and estimates from the Lao Assistance Center.
There are over 400,000 Laotians and Hmong living in America since the end of the war. Little Laos on the Prairie Founding Editor, Chanida Phaengdara Potter will share many photos and interviews from her personal collection. Several photos from the personal collection of writer Bryan Thao Worra will also be on display there.
The opening reception on January 10th will feature many special guests, food and beverages. Chantala Kommanivanh will come from Chicago to discuss his art at the exhibit. The exhibit is free and welcomes community members, public officials, advocates, scholars, and people interested in immigration and Southeast Asia. Stories of displacement, isolation, identity crisis, reflection, hope and happiness are some of the themes the exhibit explores. Originals and prints of artwork will be available for sale.
All proceeds goes to The Lao Diaspora Project and their collaborators to continue their work.
A permanent exhibit will run from April-May, 2015 at Brookdale Public Library, 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430.