Editor’s Note: The following is the artist statement of our current artist in resident, Pa Na Lor (above, left). You can see her work exhibited at Impact Hub through October.
The Landscapes of My Stories
Pa Na Lor
As an artist, I am foremost a storyteller working in printmaking and experimental animation. I currently reside in Saint Paul, MN.
To me, my printed landscapes are the establishing shot to all my stories. I dream up these landscapes to accompany the story I hope to tell; a story rooted in personal experiences and weaved with the history of my family and my dreams.
Yet, and ironically, my prints has always been my quiet rebellion against making art connected entirely to my ethnicity, my bi-cultural upbringing. The problem as a Hmong woman artist is that I feel like I am automatically, more like obligated, to only make my art about self-discovery or self-realization. Working hard to stray from the symbols of my Hmong-ness, I don’t want to consistently re-evaluate my place in the intersection of two cultures. Conflicted, my printed landscapes may not look Hmong – it is still rooted in it because the foundation of who I am is that I am still Hmong.
But what happens when I just want to make art about shapes, colors, textures, lines and movement? Can I ever be able to achieve such a status to where I will be evaluated on usage of these artistic elements and not so much on the cultural baggage that I carry with me?