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Asian American Art Oral History Project

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Kazua Melissa Vang, Justin Beales Jul 2019

Kazua Melissa Vang, Justin Beales

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Kazua Melissa Vang is a Hmong American filmmaker, visual artist, photographer, teaching artists, production manager, and producer based in Minnesota. Melissa is currently a lead artist as well as a teaching artist for In Progress. Her most two most recent photography works were showcased at In Progress under the exhibit, “NEXUS: Honoring the Self-Taught Photographic Artist” (2016), and “Hmong Tattoo,”(2017). Her current photography project is taking portraits of Hmong refrigerators and freezers. From her collection “F R I D G E S,” was featured in the exhibit, “Foodway”(Summer 2018) at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and ...


Bryan Thao Worra, Pauline De Leon Jul 2019

Bryan Thao Worra, Pauline De Leon

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: An award-winning Laotian American writer, I work actively to support Laotian, Hmong and Southeast Asian American artists. I am recognized by the Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts. I also served as a consulting contractor with the Minnesota History Center, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and the Minnesota Humanities Commission. I am an active professional member of the Horror Writer Association and president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.


Kathy Liao, Lei Chen Jun 2019

Kathy Liao, Lei Chen

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Biography: Kathy Liao currently resides in Kansas City, MO, and teaches at Missouri Western State University as the Director of the Painting and Printmaking Studio Art Program. Drawing inspirations from her diverse cultural background and personal history, Kathy Liao mixed media work is about the intimate yet universal concept of relationships. Liao received her MFA in Painting from Boston University and BFA in Painting and Drawing from University of Washington, Seattle. Liao is a recipient of various awards including the StudiosINC Studio Residency Program, Charlotte Street Foundation Studio Residency, Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Grant, Artist Grants from Anderson Ranch Arts ...


Sky Cubacub Interview, Spencer Nieto Jun 2019

Sky Cubacub Interview, Spencer Nieto

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: Rebirth Garments are designed and made by hand by Sky Cubacub. Sky is a non-binary queer and disabled Filipinx human from Chicago, IL with life long anxiety and panic disorders. Sky first dreamed of this collection while in high school and couldn’t find a place where they could buy a chest binder as a person who was under 18, and who didn't have access to a credit card to buy one online. Sky is especially interested in Rebirth Garments being accessible to queer and disabled youth and is working on creating a program for making free ...


Heather C. Lou Interview, Katie O’Reilly Jun 2019

Heather C. Lou Interview, Katie O’Reilly

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: heather c. lou, m.ed. (she/her/hers) is an angry gemini earth dragon, multiracial, asian, queer, cisgender, disabled, survivor/surviving, depressed, and anxious womxn of color artist based in st. paul, minnesota. her mixed media pieces include watercolor, acrylic, gold paint pen, oil pastel, radical love, & hope. each piece comments on the intersections of her racial, gender, ability, & sexual identities, as they continue to shift and develop in complexity each day. her art is a form of healing, transformation, and liberation, rooted in womxnism and gender equity through a racialized borderland lens. heather works in education as ...


Kai Duc Luong Interview, Stuart Hutson Jun 2019

Kai Duc Luong Interview, Stuart Hutson

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio Born in 1975 in Phnom-Penh, KAI-DUC LUONG fled the oppressive Khmer Rouge regime from Cambodia to Vietnam to France, where his family settled in Paris, in 1978. KAI-DUC operates between Chicago and Paris. His artistic projects include video (art / doc / film), photography, and mixed media installations. His unconventional path as a self-taught outsider artist, trained in digital communication & systems engineering, gives him a unique perspective, at times questioning subject matters through the understanding of transmission and systems (e.g. the primary emotions, the five senses, the stages of grief, the art industry). His works have been showcased at ...


Nicole Sumida And Alex Yu Interview, Laraib Malik Jun 2019

Nicole Sumida And Alex Yu Interview, Laraib Malik

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Bio: Nicole Sumida is a co-founder and co-publisher of Riksha Magazine, an online magazine featuring creative work by and about Asian Americans. Alex Yu is a co-publisher of Riksha and both have been involved in community arts organizing since the 1990s in Chicago.

Riksha provides a space for capturing the Asian American experience through compelling writing, commentary, and artistic expression. We curate an online magazine that presents poetry, fiction, non-fiction, fine arts, and video and audio pieces. We also comment on and curate the bric-a-brac and ephemera of Asian American life.”


Chamindika Wanduragala Interview, Vincent To Jun 2019

Chamindika Wanduragala Interview, Vincent To

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Chamindika Wanduragala is a Sri Lankan American visual artist, cook, DJ ( DJ Chamun), puppeteer and stop motion animation filmmaker based in Minneapolis. Her work deals with personal experience through mythic stories. She is also the founder and Director of Monkeybear's Harmolodic Workshop, which supports Native/POC in developing creative and technical skills in contemporary puppetry.

Bio from: http://chamindika.com/index.html


Bao Phi Interview, Elyse Warnecke Jun 2019

Bao Phi Interview, Elyse Warnecke

Asian American Art Oral History Project

BIO: Bao Phi is a Vietnamese American spoken and written word artist. Coming from a family of refugees from Vietnam, his escapism and life values he has found in literature have allowed for many great accomplishments, such as poetry championships, several books of poetry collections, and most recently, children’s books. He uses his life stories and lessons, as well as current events to guide his audience, as well as his daughter and younger generations, through a rather difficult world. His most recent project has been publishing a children’s book illustrated by Thi Bui.


Tori Hong Interview, Eliza Lemus Jun 2019

Tori Hong Interview, Eliza Lemus

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: Tori Hong is a self-taught visual artist exploring homelands and homecomings. In order to create meaning out of the often ambiguous, disruptive, and generative spaces they occupy, Hong creates narrative-driven illustrations, portraits, and zines. The people Hong centers in their work are LGBTQ Asian Americans and people with marginalized identities. Hong is based in Minneapolis, MN.


Jennifer Tshab Her, Allison Bautista Jun 2019

Jennifer Tshab Her, Allison Bautista

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: My work demonstrates and complicates the politics of displacement through my experience as a second-generation Hmong-American woman. As a nation-less ethnic minority from Southeast Asia, I fear cultural extinction. I create work that reveals the diaspora of the Hmong, questioning the roles of site and place, and instead looking in-between. My work engages political and cultural space through multidisciplinary practices such as embroidery, installation, and social practice. I use color as a dialogue–a tool for bringing attention to space, claiming space and recognizing how spaces are claimed. I interpret the question of ownership, whether land or body ...


Dwight Sora Interview, Jay Lee Jun 2019

Dwight Sora Interview, Jay Lee

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: Dwight Sora is half-Japanese (father) and half-Korean (mother) actor who grew up in the Chicago suburb of River Forest. He has studied the Japanese martial art of aikido since 1993, when he was an exchange student attending Waseda University in Tokyo. He holds a rank of sandan (third degree black belt).


Ada Cheng Interview, Zishuo Wang Jun 2019

Ada Cheng Interview, Zishuo Wang

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Bio: Ada Cheng is the host of the storytelling show Pour One Out, a monthly storytelling series at Volumes Bookcafe. She is also the producer and host of the show Am I Man Enough? a storytelling/podcasting show, where people tell personal stories to critically examine the culture of toxic masculinity and the construction of masculinity and manhood. In addition, she is the co-producer and co-host of Talk Stories, an Asian American/Asian diaspora storytelling show, along with Randy Kim, a show where they showcase Asian/Asian American storytellers and performing artists.


Youngsun Choi Interview, Adam Martinez Jun 2019

Youngsun Choi Interview, Adam Martinez

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: YoungSun Choi was born in Seoul, South Korea and is currently living in Chicago, IL. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2018 and her Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University majoring in Studio Art with an emphasis in Photography in 2015 where she was awarded the Strauss Scholarship for Photography as well as the Sher-Right Art Scholarship.


Udita Upadhyaya Interview, Aneri Madhu Jun 2019

Udita Upadhyaya Interview, Aneri Madhu

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: Udita Upadhyaya is an interdisciplinary artist who uses the details of her medical, cultural, and social biography as her primary art material. Her work spans live art, devised theatre, performative photographs, sculpture, installation, video, writing, text, and fiber arts.

Upadhyaya delves into the privilege of being able to lose a language, to have a language to spare. She wonders which bodies have access to literacy? Which to expression? When? And Where? Upadhyaya writes in English, reconciling and reclaiming that her language of intellectual expression and subsequently of power is inherited from the colonizers of her ancestors. Simultaneously she ...


Mary Grace Bertulfo Interview, Serena Offord Jun 2019

Mary Grace Bertulfo Interview, Serena Offord

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Bio: Mary Grace Bertulfo lives and writes at the intersection of nature, culture, and spirituality. She has written professionally for television and children’s education in such venues as CBS, Pearson Education Asia, and Schlessinger and for conservation magazines such as Sierra and Chicago Wilderness. Her award-winning fiction has appeared in Growing Up Filipino II, Our Own Voice, and The Oak Parker and her essays have appeared in various anthologies. She is a co-owner of Calypso Moon Studio, a working arts studio, in the Oak Park Arts District. Mary Grace is a member of the international N.V.M. and ...


Giau Minh Truong Interview, Gin To Jan 2019

Giau Minh Truong Interview, Gin To

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Bio: Giau Minh Truong is a company member of A-Squared Theatre Workshop and an at- large artist for various performing arts companies in the Chicago area. For A-Squared, he directed Ching Chong Chinaman, The Other Shore, and short plays for My Asian Mom, acted in Trial By Water, and designed lights for The Wind Cries Mary. Giau’s other directorial credits include Downward Facing, Lights Out, Everybody, and Theatre of Women for Dream Theatre Company. He directed Sister Outlaw, Mr. and Mrs. LaQuesta Go Dancing, My Name is Flor Contemplacion, and I Dream Electric for CIRCA-Pintig, Chicago’s long-running Filipino ...


Dinesh Sabu Interview, Mitch Buangsuwon Jan 2019

Dinesh Sabu Interview, Mitch Buangsuwon

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Bio: Dinesh Sabu made his first feature documentary Unbroken Glass with Kartemquin Film. It played at numerous film festivals and was broadcast on America ReFramed’s 5th Season in May 2017. Dinesh was awarded “Best Director” at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2017 for his debut feature. Before Unbroken Glass, Dinesh shot parts of American Arab and The Homestretch with Kartemquin filmmakers. He also shot and is co-producing the forthcoming How to Build a School in Haiti with director Jack C. Newell. He is currently attending Stanford University’s Documentary Film and Video MFA program.


Migiwa Orimo Interview, Jessica Ruiz Jul 2018

Migiwa Orimo Interview, Jessica Ruiz

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio:
Migiwa Orimo is an artist whose primary work takes the form of installation. Orimo was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. After receiving her degree in literature and studying graphic design, she immigrated to the US in the early eighties.

In her process of creating installations, she begins by entering a space of language. Often her installations consist of disparate elements--text, painting, drawing, objects, video and sound. In attempting to establish relationships and tension between those elements, similar to constructing sentences, she explores the notions of gap, slippage, and “a realm of disjunction.”

She exhibits her work nationally ...


Kioto Aoki Interview, Austin Sandifer Jun 2018

Kioto Aoki Interview, Austin Sandifer

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: Kioto Aoki is a conceptual photographer and experimental filmmaker who also makes books and installations engaging the material specificity of the analogue image and image-making process. Her work explores modes of perception via nuances of the mundane, with recent focusing on perceptions of movement between the still and the moving image. She received MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently a 2017-2018 HATCH artist in residence at the Chicago Artist Coalition.

https://kiotoaoki.com/


Mia Park Interview, Justin Fernandez Jun 2018

Mia Park Interview, Justin Fernandez

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Bio: Mia Park is a multidisciplinary artist acting, writing, playing music, producing events, teaching yoga, and volunteering in Chicago, IL. She shares her passion for discovery and self-inquiry with hope and optimism. Mia began professionally acting in 1997 hosting the cult favorite cable access dance show Chic-A-Go-Go. Her acting career has brought her on stage, in film, on television and on the radio. Mia currently plays the recurring character Nurse Beth Cole on NBC's Chicago Med. She has advocated for Asian American representation in acting since 2006 when she co-founded A-Squared Theatre and hosted educational theater workshops for the ...


Mitsu Salmon Interview, David Yonamine Jun 2018

Mitsu Salmon Interview, David Yonamine

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio:
Mitsu Salmon creates original performance and visual works, which fuse multiple disciplines. She was born in the melting pot of Los Angeles to a Japanese mother and American father. Her creation in different mediums, the translation of one medium to another, is connected to the translation of differing cultures and languages.

Salmon received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. In 2005 she graduated from NYU where she majored in Experimental Theater, studying theater and visual arts. She has lived in India, England, Germany, Amsterdam, Japan, and Bali.

She has performed solo ...


Tony Moy Interview, Sarah Song Jun 2018

Tony Moy Interview, Sarah Song

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio:
Tony Moy is a mixed media artist who focuses on watercolor and Gouache living in downtown Chicago. He has published art in books from the X-files, Dungeons and Dragons, Tome I & II, Memory Collectors and among others. In addition, Tony has over 10 years of teaching experience and currently teaches illustration and design at the School of the Art Institute. His inspiration comes from studying traditional and classic watercolorists combined with the modern influences of pop culture comics, anime and fantasy. https://www.tonymoy.art/about-me


Jeffrey Augustine Songco Interview, Yara Cruz Jun 2018

Jeffrey Augustine Songco Interview, Yara Cruz

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio:
Jeffrey Augustine Songco (b. 1983) is a multi-media artist. Born and raised in New Jersey to devout Catholic Filipino immigrants, his artistic identity developed at a young age with training in classical ballet, voice, and musical theater. He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. His artwork has been exhibited throughout the USA including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids. In 2017, he was featured in the publication Queering Contemporary Asian American Art, and he was the Installation Category ...


Soheila Azadi Interview, Jillian Bridgeman Jun 2018

Soheila Azadi Interview, Jillian Bridgeman

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: Soheila Azadi is an interdisciplinary visual artist and lecturer based in Chicago and Iran. Born in the capital of Islamic cities, Esfahan, Azadi absorbed story-telling skills through Persian miniature drawings since she was nine. Azadi’s inspirations come from her experiences of being a woman while living under Theocracy. Now residing in the U.S. Azadi is dedicated to transnational feminism with a passionate devotion to the ways in which race, religion, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity intersect. Azadi uses performance art and performative installations as methods to both materialize and narrate stories about women’s everyday struggle in ...


Sarah-Ji (Love & Struggle Photos) Interview, Aggie Kallinicou Jun 2018

Sarah-Ji (Love & Struggle Photos) Interview, Aggie Kallinicou

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio:

Artist Bio: Sarah-Ji is a movement photographer who has been documenting freedom struggles in Chicago since 2010. Her long term work is to build a world in which prisons and police are not necessary, and no one is disposable. Sarah is a core member of For The People Artists Collective and organizes with Love & Protect and documents under the name Love & Struggle Photos. She and her daughter Cadence currently live in Rogers Park.


Leila Abdelrazaq Interview, Quest Sawyer Jun 2018

Leila Abdelrazaq Interview, Quest Sawyer

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Artist Bio: Leila Abdelrazaq is a Palestinian author/artist, who was born in Chicago. Her work combines art and activism, addressing topics such as diaspora, refugees, history, memory, and borders. In 2015, she graduated from DePaul University with a BFA in Theatre and BA in Arabic Studies. She is best known for her graphic novel Baddawi (April 2015)- a story about her father’s refugee experience. Her website (https://lalaleila.com) also contains comics and zines, illustrations, and prints she’s created based on self- expression and her love of activism. Leila is also the founder of a blog called ...


Chihsuan Yang Interview, Omar Dyette Jun 2018

Chihsuan Yang Interview, Omar Dyette

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Bio: Winner of the 3Arts Award in 2015 and the 2016 Camargo Foundation Fellow in France. Chihsuan was born and raised in Taiwan and moved to the United States at the age of 15. Being a Classically-trained violinist/pianist her whole life, Chihsuan acquired the skills to expand horizons beyond tradition, and it also granted her fluency in the universal language of music. As an eclectic and versatile violinist, erhu player, and pianist, actively engaged in the music scene around the globe, Chihsuan’s body of work spans across a multitude of genres and reaches beyond borders. Chihsuan has performed ...


Patricia Nguyen Interview, Joyce Shoults Apr 2017

Patricia Nguyen Interview, Joyce Shoults

Asian American Art Oral History Project

BIO: Patricia Nguyen is an artist, educator, and scholar born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies at Northwestern University and a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans. Her research and performance work examines critical refugee studies, political economy, forced migration, oral histories, inherited trauma, torture, and nation building in the United States and Vietnam. She has published work in Women Studies Quarterly, Harvard Kennedy School's Asian American Policy Review, and The Methuen Drama Anthology of Modern Asian Plays edited by Siyuan Liu and Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. Patricia is ...


Hương Ngô Interview, Jessica Perez Mar 2017

Hương Ngô Interview, Jessica Perez

Asian American Art Oral History Project

Bio: Hương Ngô is a multidisciplinary artist whose work incorporates performance, sound, text, and installation. She was recently awarded the prestigious Fulbright US Scholar Grant in Vietnam to continue a project (begun at the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer in France) that traces the colonial history of surveillance in Vietnam and the anti-colonial strategies of resistance vis-à-vis the activities of female organizers and liaisons. The project, To Name It Is To See It, fleshes out identity and visibility as territories that both colonizer and colonized manipulate to achieve personal agency or state sovereignty. She was born in Hong Kong and is ...