Reflection and remembrances for those in multiple worlds feels out of focus, out of reach, and yet chaotically beautiful. 1.5 is a sense of feeling, concept, truth, and a tunnel. It’s a reflection of the unspoken boundaries in the past, present and future for the Southeast Asian diaspora. 1.5 describes those who arrived on American soil under the age of 12, their complex and complicated displacement, and the fragments of their memories and dreams.
2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the diaspora from Southeast Asia and a new world we’re stepping into with our storytellers, artists, and healers. SEAD gathered a batch of stories from 1.5 and their descendents on themes of love, labor, and boundaries. We’ll be launching a “1.5” storytelling campaign and art show, as means for moving and shifting the dialogue on our multitude of narratives.
Our community shared their stories of being uniquely in-between: of love and loss, isolation and community, survival and prosperity.
Want to be a part of our digital library? Submit your story here.
Scattered Diasporas and The Critical Renewal
Thursday, December 3rd
6:30 PM — 8 PM
The Southeast Asian Diaspora Project (SEAD) in partnership with Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) is proud to present 1.5: A Southeast Asian Diaspora Remix. The exhibition will showcase work by Southeast Asian diaspora artists. As part of reimagining the 45th anniversary of the diaspora, SEAD has gathered stories from the community and worked with artists to respond to stories with visual artworks.
Featured artists are based in the Twin Cities, nationally, and internationally, and include Kat Eng, Van Hai, Sisavanh Houghton, and Chantala Kommanivanh, with additional works by Xee Reiter, Leyen Trang, and Christina Vang. The exhibition will also include works created in collaboration between artists and SEAD. 1.5 is a sense of feeling, concept, truth, and tunnel. It’s a reflection of the unspoken boundaries in the past, present and future for the Southeast Asian diaspora. 1.5 describes those who arrived on American soil under the age of 12, their complex and complicated displacement, and the fragments of their memories and dreams by a handful of selected artists who are either 1.5 or their descendents. The exhibit will be a compelling and complex take on the Southeast Asian diaspora experience; which is fraught with fragments of memories straddling in the grey area between these worlds.
Curated by SEAD Project Founder and Executive Director Chanida Phaengdara Potter in collaboration with the M’s Curator of Exhibitions Laura Joseph and Curatorial Assistant Mia Laufer, 1.5 will include art across media, including painting, sculpture, video, and interactive installation. A zine written by SEAD and community partners will accompany the exhibition.
Featured: “Left” – Van Hai
“Left is a short film about exile. It is at this exact moment when the decision to go into the unknown, far from home, becomes a reality. It’s about separations, hopes and fears. It’s that moment when our survival plans collide with reality. These are decisive moments, when the bond we have with our loved ones withers, giving way to loneliness and the instinct for survival. Everything in this film aims to go beyond time and space and to represent this starting movement for itself.
To achieve it, I called on my own family. Like a tribute in continuity. My wife crossed the Mekong with a smuggler to flee her country with her mother and half of her brothers and sisters, they experienced separation and camps and were lucky to find each other, unharmed, in Switzerland in 1980. My wife’s father, whom I’m playing, actually swam the Mekong alone, after having separated the other nine members of his family into two groups.
Today we retraced our steps and had to uproot our first child born in Switzerland. We are strangers wherever we live. We had to choose between the difference in appearance and the cultural difference to have been brought up in the West. We will never be free from having to choose between these two relative affiliations.” — Van Hai
5 Ways To Get Involved
- We’re honored to share your stories. Submit yours for future collections.
- Are you a Southeast Asian Creative responding to community? Share our “I Am A Southeast Asian Creative” graphic and show us your work! Tag @theseadproject, use the hashtag #onepointfive and we’ll reshare your posts. Download the square version or portrait version — whichever one best suits your grid aesthetic.
- Take a picture with the piece of work at our exhibit that resonated with you the most. Tell us about it, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
- Stay in-the-know on all our upcoming events and programming and follow us on Instagram and Facebook (@theseadproject) or Twitter (@PlanttheSEAD).
- Share the official flyer with your friends and link theseadproject.org/onepointfive — don’t forget to use #onepointfive on your post!
How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology
Hmong American Writers Circle, ed.
Karst Mountains Will Bloom
Mai Der Vang