» Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay
How did you become an artist?
I believe we were all born artists and some of us just stopped creating.
What inspires you?
Metaphysics and uncommon relationships or interactions.
How can art be a tool for speaking out, for creating change in the world?
Art brings out the ‘uninhibited’ in us. I’ve used it to build, to destroy, to anger, to incite feelings in others and the more years I’ve been writing, the less and less fearful I am of the consequences. I definitely think art should elevate and, for the past six years, I’ve used creative writing and theater to promote civic engagement within Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee communities. It’s important to me that they become citizens, to be proactive, to really be invested in their adopted home.
How has Intermedia Arts been a part of your story?
Intermedia Arts’ programs and open door for artists have informed much of my work throughout the years. To that, I'm absolutely grateful.
What is one of your favorite experiences with Intermedia Arts?
Every single one that involved food and people who don’t look like me.
How has art changed you?
Art makes me question authenticity. Art has shown me how multi-faceted my identity is and that a single medium cannot affectively communicate my intrinsic self. Art makes me want to forever explore.
“I believe we were all born artists and some of us just stopped creating.”
- Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay
What do you see as Intermedia Arts' role in the community?
For many artists, institutional barriers hinder the exploration of their art. Intermedia Arts has been opposite of that – there are programs for all ages and artistic mediums, programs that really answer to or accommodate the shifting demographics of our community.For many new Americans, a gallery or performance at Intermedia Arts is their first engagement in an institutional setting. Intermedia Arts provides access. Intermedia Arts democratizes art for the community.
SAYMOUKDA "MOOKS" VONGSAY is a Lao American poet and playwright whose passion is arts advocacy. Her work has been published by Altra Magazine, The Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, St. Paul Almanac, Lao American Magazine, and Bakka Literary Journal, to name a few. Vongsay pens the series Pushing the Pen, published weekly in the Asian American Press, interviewing literary artists from across the nation. She has taught and performed spoken word poetry from the Midwest to the East and West coasts, as well as in Italy and Japan. Saymoukda is a co-founding member of the Unit Collective of Emerging Playwrights of Color and an active participant with Pillsbury House Theater’s Chicago Avenue Project. She is a 2011 Jerome Foundation/Mu Performing Arts' New Eyes Theater Fellow, winner of the 2010 Alfred C. Carey Prize in Spoken Word Poetry (NY), and an advisory board member of the 2010 MPLS Asian Film Festival. She is currently writing the full-length play, Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals, a commission by Mu Performing Arts. Saymoukda is pursuing an interdisciplinary Masters degree in Public Policy, Social Work, and Creative Writing at the U of MN. Get to know her at www.refugenius.com