NORTHERN SPARK AWARDS $6,000 GRANT TO ARTISTS, TOU SAIKO LEE

tousaikosizeTou Saiko Lee is amongst the few local artists who were chosen through a competitive grant to create an immersive exhibition, Hmong Tattoo Exhibit, that opens on June 10, 2017 during the Northern Spark, an all-night arts event put on by Northern Lights.mn. His artist collaborative, the Hmong Tattoo Crew, will work in the next few months to pull together this exhibition. It explores the Hmong diaspora, Hmong designs and motifs, and climate change through tattoo culture.

“These unlikely elements of tattoo, textile, and climate change are intersections of modern Hmong diaspora identity. The Hmong motifs are drawn from textile symbols and those were inspired by the agricultural lifestyle of the Hmong. For Hmong who have grown up in western societies where there might not be a connection to farming and gardening, their fascination with Hmong symbols are that strong bond that continues that relationship crossing time and space,” says Mai Nhia Vang, founder of the Hmong Museum, a partner in the tattoo exhibition. “Tattoo is a physical expression of their Hmong identities.”

Hmong Museum is a partner with the Hmong Tattoo Crew to coordinate and develop the exhibition. Melissa Vang, photographer and team member, will begin photographing and profiling tattoo artists and tattoo recipients for the show. The images will be printed onto 8-foot tall cloth panels and transport visitors through the journey of these individuals. The team has announced a call for Hmong tattoo artists and individuals with Hmong cultural inspired tattoos. Along with the exhibition the Hmong Tattoo Crew will host artists’ talk throughout the evening, give glow-in-the-dark Hmong motif temporary tattoos, and a live body painting demonstration.

To submit your tattoo and story visit hmongtattoo.wordpress.com or share your own stories on social media #mytattoostory.

Hmong Museum is a new start-up 501(c)3 cultural organization in the Twin Cities established in 2013. It began as a passion project to bring Hmong history to life and preserve all things Hmong. As a museum without walls, the organization focuses on bringing rich cultural programming to community spaces.

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