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Tsev: Multi-Media Art Installation

  • Axis Lab 1120 West Argyle Street Chicago, IL, 60640 United States (map)

This event is a preview of "Tsev", a multi-medium art installation and dance performance, which will be showcased at Northwestern University's In Motion: Performance and Unsettling Borders Graduate Student / Performance Festival on April 28th at 7pm. This event is also part of theThird Thursdays on Argyle initiative. 


Tsev, a multi-medium art installation and dance performance, is a collaboration between Kuab Maiv Yaj and Magnolia Yang Sao Yia. Tsev, pronounced chay, means house or home in Hmong. Tsev explores, deconstructs, and reimagines the Hmong home/what is home for stateless Hmong women positioned in domestic patriarchy. Tsev is in its beginning stages of research, conversations, trial and errors, questioning, witnessing, and responding to each other’s work. Most importantly, Tsev is an investigation and a practice of healing. From a journey of sharing and collaborating ongoing since 2015, questions of healing have led Yaj and Yang Sao Yia to Hmong rituals and spiritual practices, the indigenous knowledge and legacy of their ancestors. It is by engaging in spirituality, its bodily practices, and Hmong cosmology that they continue to creatively and critically work together to create and imagine a decolonial process where their humanity, and that of the community, is centralized and reclaimed.


Magnolia Yang Sao Yia is a choreographer and dancer investigating her contemporary identity as Hmong, woman, American, brown, and stateless. She is passionate in creating at the intersection of social justice, dance, and healing, fostered by Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, dance scholar and founder/artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre. Yang Sao Yia was a dance company member of Ananya Dance Theatre from 2013-2017. Rooted in community, Yang Sao Yia creates to awaken, engage, strategize, mobilize, to re-imagine, transform, connect and heal. Yang Sao Yia graduated with a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Asian American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She is PhD student in Critical Dance Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Through the support of the Dean's Distinguished Fellowship Award, she will be researching Hmong dance at UCR.

Kuab Maiv Yaj / Koua Mai Yang is a Hmong American female artist exploring Hmong identity in her studio art practice. Growing up in the United States, she understands her family’s history as imaginary and as sites that exists orally and as memories. With the constant tension of culture and identity loss that she feels in the United States, she makes art out of an urgency to be seen. Her art materializes Hmong history and her personal experiences into drawings, paintings, and textiles. Yang’s works exists at the intersection of Hmong and American cultural practices. Her art draws attention to what it means to be displaced while seeking to belong and feel welcomed. Working representationally from Western and Hmong notions of art, she seeks to make meaning what it means to be Hmong in America today. Yang graduated with her BFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2012 and is continuing her exploration of Hmong identity at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis in the Masters of Fine Arts Program in the Drawing, Painting and Printmaking Program. She currently resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Axis Lab:

Axis Lab is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary arts organization that aims to sustain and build upon the legacy of Southeast Asian Community in the Argyle street corridor through the intersection of food, design, and education.

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