Three artists will present works and discuss their ideas about contemporary justice and its residual effects on the Cambodian American experience through film screenings, spoken word and poetry performances, and visual arts exhibition on April 4, 2013, from 4 to 9 p.m. at the University of Minnesota’s Smith Hall Room 100.
The event begins with a Meet & Mingle with the Artists and a light dinner and drinks will be provided. The ‘one-night-only event is time to help celebrate the Cambodian New Year which falls on the weekend of April 13-14.
At 5 p.m. Chay Douangphouxay and Phira Rehm will open up the floor with a spoken word and poetry performance.
Douangphouxay is a Lao-Khmer American writer/poet/activist who recently published a chapbook, “Remission: Finding Light in the Midst of Social Darkness.” The poems in this collection are inspired by the life and experiences of the author from her humble beginnings in the Thai refugee camps to growing up as a second-class citizen in the Housing Projects of North Minneapolis.
Despite all her struggles, Douangphouxay was able to rise above the tides of her environment, attain a college education, and advocate for her community. She uses her art to educate and inspire others to advocate for their communities and has received awards from the Minnesota Humanities Center and the State Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.
Douangphouxay received her undergraduate degree in English from Metropolitan State University. She is currently the co-chair of the Twin Cities Chapter of NAPAWF, a national organization working to forge a grassroots progressive movement to advance social justice and human rights for Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls.
Rehm is a first generation Khmer Minnesota woman also born in the Thailand refugee camp, Khao I Dang/Site II in Mairut. In 1999, Rehm founded Khmer’s Next Generation, an arts organization with a mission to bridge the gap in communication, culture, and traditions between elders and youths in the Southeast Asian Communities.
In addition to founding Rehm Designs & Renovation, she has over 20 years of experience as a volunteer with refugee resettlement and has collaborated with artists, youths and arts organizations in the Twin Cities.
Her current artistic vision is to stop the silent sufferings of women and children within the Southeast Asian community, who have experienced sexual abuse, molestation, and rape, by utilizing art as a way to help find their voices to tell their stories and begin the process of healing and self-love.
Rehm is also involved with Instructions for Peace, Artist for Paint on the Water: St. Croix Valley Hip Hop Festival, Speaking for Ourselves, Risking Light, and the Khmer-American Artist blog at http://khmersnextgeneration.wordpress.com.
Find our more about Rehm at http://www.mnartists.org/Phira_Rehm.
At 5:30 p.m. Elijah Chhum’s 30 minute short film “Cambodian Beauty Project” will be screened and follow with a 15 minute Q & discussion. The documentary film questions just what is the ideal standard of Cambodian beauty? Is beauty measured by the shade of her skin, the width of her nose, or the shape of her eye?
At a very young age many Cambodians are teased for being born with “flaws”. This documentary will uncover the Cambodian standard of beauty and what happens when we fail to reach this ideal. Is it ok to be who we are?
Chhum is Cambodian-American and a Minneapolis-based filmmaker. He is currently the producer of Mojo Solo, Inc., a boutique creative agency in St Paul.
A fellow of the Legacy Fellowship funded by the MN Humanities Center in collaboration with the Council of Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, Chhum presents his research called the Cambodian Beauty Project. His journey to understand beauty stems from a five year career as a local modeling agent. His documentary explores if beauty can be defined.
At 6:15 p.m. Phira Rehm will introduce Anida Y. Ali , who will present her works until 9 p.m.
Ali was born in Battambang, Cambodia in 1974 and came to American as a refugee and raised in Chicago, and earned her B.F.A. from University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and an M.F.A. in from School of the Art Institute Chicago. Her art ranges from performance, installation, video, poetry, public encounters, and political agitation.
Ali returned to Cambodia to work in Phnom Penh as part of her 2011 U.S. Fulbright Fellowship. She took an interdisciplinary approach using installation and performance art to investigate the artistic, spiritual and political collisions of a hybrid transnational identity.
Today she performs, lectures and exhibits worldwide with a critically acclaimed group, and works as a collaborative partner with Studio Revolt, an independent artist run media lab in Phnom Penh.
Studio Revolt’s 2011 short film about Cambodian American deportation, “My Asian Americana” won the public vote for the White House ‘What’s Your Story’ Video Challenge but was dismissed by contest organizers.