Left: Sacramento, California 1987, Right: Sacramento, California 2012

Recollecting Memories, Identity and Home:

Letter #2, A Campaign update, Research and Documentation Methods

November 26, 2017

Dear Community Members, Friends and Fellows,


We are about one month away from the trip to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. After the launch of this campaign for my mother to study abroad with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UW-M) in Southeast Asia, we have been able to raise up to $900! My mother and I want to thank you for your generous contribution to this fundraiser to help cut the cost of her attendance with the study abroad program. If you are interested in contributing please scroll down to the end of this page and click the donation button or share this link with your friends and family. Any amount that you give is greatly welcomed!


I decided not to use a fundraising platform such as GoFundMe because I want to keep the communication more direct and intimate. Although the internet provides limitations with the amount of intimacy one can have online, I want to explore this on my own website. I find that I am able to have deeper conversations, when we are facing each other. We are able to be seen, be heard, and be understood when the engagement is more intimate. We are also able to hold one another responsible and accountable for the actions that we make. I believe that I am able to fully receive and give to others when we are meeting each other at a similar plane of communication.


Intimacy is also something that I seek in my artistic practice because it is how I want people to experience my work. My work draws from my lived experiences. This study abroad program is 3 weeks in length and ideally this will not provide enough time to develop a deeper connection with the land and people in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Having traveled domestically and internationally before, I often feel like an outsider looking in during these visits. The feeling of being a stranger in an unfamiliar place, or in another person’s home, is something that I am expecting to feel while I am in Southeast Asia.


Understanding my position and privileges as an educated American, is something that I want to be mindful of while I am traveling outside the United States. Therefore, the way I document and collect information should also be reconsidered. I often ask myself, why I have the impulse to make images. What am documenting and who does it serve?

Documentation and collecting fragments, information, sounds, moving images, and photo are usually a part of my studio art practice and research. I want to prioritize the feelings and thoughts from this travel through personal letters and dairy entries. I am hoping to write entries as form of documentation and research. Writing will allow for a better way to reflect on my experiences and help me understand the impulse that I have in creating images. I believe this practice will help me better understand why I materialize my experiences and what compels me to something.


Most of these letters will be shared on this website as away to provide access to my research and hold space for possible dialogue. I hope that my letters document a sense of intimacy and provide a unique process of recording my journey with my mother. Additionally I hope that my mother and I will become closer as we learn and explore our history and culture together. I am looking forward to this travel with the UW-Milwaukee students and professor.


Do not hesitate to reach out to me via the contact box below should you prefer a different method of payment for your donation or have questions or comments for me. 



Kuab Maiv Yaj

(Koua Mai Yang)


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To read more about Recollecting Memories, Identity and Home:

Read Letter #1

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