Transparent Voices, 20' Tall x 10' wide x 15' diameter, gold thread, fabric, fake marigolds, ink, and sticky Rice *Installed at the Minnesota Museum of American Art 09/2020-01/2021
I was born in Laos and immigrated at the age of four and with no real memories of fleeing for my life and spending the next two years in the refugee camps in Nong Khai, Thailand. I have no memories of screaming my head off when they took my father away or released him to spare me from death. My first distinctive memory was someone wrapping a coat around me because I was cold in San Francisco. I remembered being photographed by the local journalist upon our arrival. My story is nothing different from thousands of other immigrants fleeing from war or oppression. It is not romantic or ethereal, but instead a true act of survival and full of pathos.
My work as a 1.5 generation Post-Vietnam War Lao American refugee immigrant is about these subtle memories, distinctive images, and fragments of time. It's about the collective Southeast Asian diasporic voices that are the driving force and empower me to celebrate my culture and diversity. The projects' goals are to preserve and educate the public about the untold stories, the forgotten Secret War on Laos, and our journey. The refugee immigration photographs are a testament that we are not another number but a reflection of war and humanity's consequences. It is about the larger context of not denying that war is a constant factor in our lives and how this discussion resonates with everyone. These challenging discussions have led me to continue a body of work with an open dialogue.
August 6-Sept. 24th, 2021: Two Person Show (with Jarrod Houghton), Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL
April 10-May 1, 2021: "Transparent Voices" ArtFields, Lake City, SC (Sisavanh Voting #217354) and (Jarrod #216628)
Jan. 19-March 12th, 2021: “Becoming: Bodies of Trauma, Displacement & Dissent,” KCKCC Gallery, Kansas City, KS, curated by Karlota Contretras-Koterbay From ETSU. (be installed a smaller version 6’x11’ Transparent Voices)
Jan. 19- Feb. 12th, 2021: “Her Liminal Asian-Appalachian Experience”, Slocumb Gallery, ETSU, Curated by Jose Ardivilla and Kreneshia Whiteside. (Installed a smaller version 6’x11’ Transparent Voices And 4 paintings from Displacement Citizenship series)
Jan. 14, 2022:
Guest on Drawing South Podcast with Mike Mitchell, Episode #3
September-Dec. 2020-Jan. 2021: 1.5 Southeast Asian Diapora Remix, Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN, curated by Chanida Phaengdara Potter a 1.5 Executive Director + Community Architect at the SEAD Project (Installed Transparent Voices, Scattered Bomblets, Aftermath, Clustered Debris)
August 21-Dec. 10th 2020: “The F-word: We Mean Female”. (6’w x 5’h) at the Hunter Museum of American, Chattanooga, TN (Painting "Impact"), curated by Nandini Makrandi
November 5, 2020: Guest on The Art of Outreach Podcast with Mike Mitchell, Episode #16 https://anchor.fm/taea-outreach/episodes/Episode-16-with-Sisavanh-Phouthavong-Houghton-em2la0/a-a3oprgv
May-August 2020: "Thank you, No Thank you" Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA *Online show due to Covid with Artist Video Description.
July 28th-Sept. 10th 2020: "100 Year Suffrage", Murfreesboro Rotunda Exhibit, Murfreesboro TN: Reception: 8/14/20
April 30-June 4th 2020: "Artists Respond to War", University of Central Florida, School of Visual Art and Design, Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and inspired by Tim O'Brien's literature The Things They Carried
Feb. 13, 2020: Art Fight Podcast with Joe Nolan and Brian Siskind, Episode #82: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3fOu8hNntUIrteWWemB8Lc?si=qhshn4kfRPOfh9Eg5RFHmA&fbclid=IwAR1BKI4SODIj30UVtRLku1kb9lfPvjjYdR8SDYgCSg4nLHD-uGnoQWppY1s
January 23rd-Feb. 27th 2020: "The Infinite Monsoon" Solo Show: Tinney Contemporary Gallery, Nashville, TN (February 1st Opening)