OFFICIALKAWM.COM firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook.com/kawm.tolearn | @kawm_tolearn Subscribe to our mailing list at officialkawm.com Cover image: Mvlasuro | Model: Kate Thao If you want to contribute to future issues, drop us a line at email@example.com, addressed to Stacey Lo. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner without permission from the featured artists or Kawm. All credits goes to it's rightful owner.
behind the scene FOUNDER STACEY LO
Thank you to all contributors! BAO VANG
CIA SIAB LIS
ELIZABETH LEE HLEE XIONG
PA CHIA XIONG
PA YING XIONG
MAI KOU LOR
SHEESO MOUA SOUA LOR SUNSHINE VANG SUYENG VWJ VINAI XIONG YENG LOR
INSIDE 01 TO YOU 03 WORD 05 LITTLE INSIGHTS 07 REFLECTIONS 09 MIX TAPE 01 11 MUSE KATE THAO 25 BLIA THAO 33 DEE THAO 39 MIAKIA THAO 45 MAI MAI BLOG 51 MAIKUE VANG 61 PA CHIA XIONG 67 SEE LOR 73 XIXO MEN'S WEAR 81 PHOTO CONTEST 91 WRITE WORDS 93 INSPIRE FRAMES 97 30 DAY JOURNAL CHALLENGE 99 THIS YEAR 103 SUBMISSION 105 JOIN US
TO YOU | 02
yob zoo! & Welcome! I am proud to announce the first issue of Kawm! This magazine means a lot to me! Back in August, Kawm was just an idea. A concept. And six months later, it has grown so much. I have put my everything
into this project. It is my honor to explain to you what Kawm is. Kawm is an online
magazine created to showcase the variety of talents in the community. My vision for this project is to inspire our readers to discover new networks, create a space to promote more talents by sharing their stories and inspire youths. Our mission is to encourage our readers to put their own vision and passion into action. My goal for Kawm is to become a voice to all creative and passionate talents in our community. Each story will give you an insight to inspirations, collaborations, events and movement awareness. In this issue, you will read about the passion from our contributors. You may see familiar and new faces, learn more about their journey and be inspired. I invite everyone to come to our space to tell their story and share their passion. I hope after reading Kawm, you will submit your story too! Get in touch and let us know what you think of the issue, we would love to hear your comments. Start 2016 off fresh! Set goals and do more! Take Care,
WORD | 04
Kawm MEANS TO LEARN
An opportunity to become better than you were yesterday. To come up with and execute a plan and work towards a goal. To encourage creativity. Learning is discovery. Show your talent, your skills, desires and inspirations. It is about moving beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Kawm focuses on what inspires and motivates us to think outside the box.
LITTLE INSIGHTS | 06
THE MUSEUM OF THE FORGOTTEN WARRIORS
KHATY XIONG'S POETRY DEBUT
A musuem found by Dann Spear located in Linda,
The Hmong American Writersâ€™ Circle (HAWC) along
CA tells the stories of those who fought on behalf
with Fresno State's MFA Program, and funding from
of the United States. Here you can find that most
Fresno Poets' Association, hosted the Central Valley
of the displays have been donated by veterans, are
book launch of Khaty Xiong's full-length poetry
signed, and has a story to go with every item. On
collection, "Poor Anima." Her book launch event also
November 7 , 2015, a memorial stone was unveiled
featured two members of HAWC reading, Mai Der
at the museum to honor more than 40,000 Hmong
Vang and Andre Yang. Xiong is a second-generation
soldiers who lost their lives, were wounded or missing.
Hmong American from Fresno, CA. She is also the
author of two poetry books: Deer Hour and Elegies.
HMONG-LAO / LAO-HMONG FRIENDSHIP PLAY
REVIVED FASHION SHOW IV
Hmong-American playwright May Lee-Yang and
The Revived Fashion Show showcases the work
of inspiring artists across the state of California.
phouxayVongsay creates a piece that builds cross-
It strives to allow aspiring artists to shine on the
cultural understanding, connections, and friendships
runway and to be a venue for the revival of the
through humor, joy, and shared stories. Collabora-
Hmong culture through fashion and design. This year
tively researched, written, and performed, Hmong-
marks the fourth show hosting four multi-talented
Lao Friendship Play / Lao-Hmong Friendship Play
fashion designers from all over California show
explores cultural relativism between the Hmong and
casing their collections. The show also tribute to
the Lao, both in Laos and in Minnesota. (via hmong-
the traditional Hmong hats by hosting a segment to
feature the work of artists who were challenged
to create a avantgarde hat inspired by a traditional Hmong hat. (via revivedfashionshow.wix.com/rhyfs)
TEN QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO
REFLECTION | 08
NO 01 WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF IN 2015?
NO 02 WHAT DID YOU MAKE/ CREATE/BUILD THIS YEAR?
NO 03 WHAT DID YOU OVERCOME THIS YEAR?
NO 04 WHAT WERE YOUR DAILY HABITS AND RITUALS?
NO 05 WHAT BOOK OR MOVIE HAD A DEEP IMPACT ON YOU? WHY?
NO 06 WHAT DID YOU FOCUS ON MOST?
NO 07 WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE COMPLIMENT YOU RECEIVED THIS YEAR?
NO 08 IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND CHANGE SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
NO 09 WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR?
NO 10 WHAT WAS THE BEST PURCHASE YOU MADE THIS YEAR?
MIXTAPE NO. 01 | 10
ANCHOR DOWN — SHENG MOUA CONCRETE WALL — ZEE AVI DEALIN' WITH YOU - LOR CHANG FOOLS — TROYE SIVAN GHOST — LIANNE LA HAVAS HABITS (COVER) — BILLBILLY01 FT. VIOLETTE WAUTIER HLUB DHAU MUS LAWM — TORY ENVY IB HNUB — DAVID YANG KOJ NYOB QHOV TWG - DAVID YANG FT. NREES XYOOJ LIKE I’M GONNA LOSE YOU — MEGHAN FT. JOHN LEGEND NYOB UA KEV — MAA VUE NEEJ KHUAM SIAB- LILY VANG THIRTEEN THIRTY FIVE — DILLON TSIS TXHOB TOG — TXHAWB ZOG
MEL·LIF·LU·OUS • ADJ, (of
a voice / words ) sweet or musical ; pleasant to hear
MUSE KATE THAO | 12
MUSE KATE THAO | 14
MUSE KATE THAO | 16
MUSE KATE THAO | 18
MUSE KATE THAO | 20
MUSE KATE THAO | 22
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH
blushing queen STORY + PHOTO BY BLIA THAO
Fashion designing has always been something that I have wanted to do for a long time. I grew up watching America's Next Top Model and could not wait for the next episode to start the following week. I know that fashion designing isn't something that Hmong parents would approve of because they want their children to become successful doctors and lawyers; careers that bring in the most money. But this is who I am. I want to be a fashion designer and represent the Hmong heritage through my work.
BLIA THAO | 26
MODEL: EVA YELENA RICKERT MUA: JENA VUE HAIR: JENA VUE PHOTOGRAPHER: HOANG LE LOCATION: OLD CITY CEMETERY, SACRAMENTO, CA
"I want to be a fashion designer &
represent the hmong heritage through my work"
BLIA THAO | 28
MODELS: MAI VEE VANG MUA: VIVIANA SISNEROS HAIR: JENA VUE PHOTOGRAPHER: JILLIAN ANAYA LOCATION: SHAVER LAKE, CA
BLIA THAO | 30
Currently, I am preserving the Hmong heritage by incorporating
wedding dresses and contemporary formal gowns. I have participated in Hmong Music Festival in the Spring of 2015 at Fresno and based my collection on the Calrose rice we eat every day. Presently, I am working on ten inspiring gowns for three separate fashion shows, one of which will be in Fresno during the Miss Hmong Pageant 2016; a good way to end the year!
B: My collection is called the Calrose collection. K: CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR COLLECTION CALROSE. WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
B: The inspiration behind my Calrose collection is exactly where it came from. The Calrose rice that our Hmong people love to eat. Because my work is wedding inspired gowns, the collection does not necessarily have to be made from rice grass or anything. I used beads shaped like rice grains as details on my dresses and on one of them, I had hand embroidered the design of the Calrose rice bag onto the back. My other dresses in the collection have silk flowers and roses to represent the "rose" part of the name. K: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO COMPLETE THE COLLECTION? B: This collection roughly took
about five months to complete. K: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST FASHION SHOW LIKE? WHERE WAS IT? HOW DID YOU FEEL?
B: I had a great time during the show. It happened in Fresno, Ca. There were many mixed feelings during my experience with the Revived group and models. I can honestly admit that I thought I could have done better on my Calrose collection but I let that pass and just thought that it was okay since it was my first collection. I know with time, everybody can grow and improve.
K: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BE A PART OF THE HMONG MUSIC FESTIVAL FASHION SHOW?
B: When I saw the fashion show in Sacramento two years back in 2013 at the Hmong new year, I was inspired to be a part of any fashion show. I wanted to represent our Hmong heritage but unfortunately it was too late to participate. And at the time I didn't have a portfolio to show my work. I did however contact Yer Vang after I saw their fashion show also in Fresno. She is one of the Revived fashion coordinators and I asked if I could be a part of their show back in Spring of 2014. Because my portfolio was not completed, I signed up as a volunteer instead, but the show was cancelled altogether. And then I received an email and an invitation to apply as a designer at their upcoming show in Spring 2015 and off course I accepted. K: ARE YOU SELF TAUGHT OR DID YOU ATTEND FASHION SCHOOL?
B: I took a sewing class back in highschool and some Fashion classes in college where I learned about textiles and fiber types to fashion illustration. It was a fun experience but I stopped pursuing my career in school due to personal reasons. After that, anything I learned was mainly self taught.
BLIA THAO | 32 MODELS: MAI VEE VANG AND CEEDRA VANG MUA: VIVIANA SISNEROS HAIR: JENA VUE PHOTOGRAPHER: JILLIAN ANAYA LOCATION: SHAVER LAKE, CA
Blia Thao is an emerging Hmong Fashion Designer based in Sacramento. She is currently working on contemporary designs with Hmong inspired designs. Her label is call Blushing Queen. You can follow more of her design work at Facebook.com/blushing-queen
tracing roots story
+ photos by dee thao
My name is Dee Thao. The way I hope to preserve my culture is through telling the history of Hmong traditions through film. I first started this in 2012 when I traveled to Thailand and Laos to retrace my heritage and to learn more about my parent’s journey through the refugee camps in Thailand. I found out that before I can even start to get answers to questions about my culture, I must first learn what to ask. The filming of this short documentary was both enlightening and emotional at the same time. I learned that by living in the US, I had changed; I was not completely Hmong or completely American. I was a fusion of the two cultures and if I didn’t know how to live with that, I wouldn’t know how to live with either. Preserving one’s culture can sometimes be difficult; there are many expectations and cultural obligations for members of the “new generation” to preserve their culture by speaking fluent Hmong and learning and participating in traditional customs. If an individual does not meet these expectations, they are considered to be very “non-Hmong” by the members of the elder generation. Sometimes people even tell them that they are throwing their culture away and they should be ashamed of the loss of tradition. However, I do not believe that; I believe that a lot of us understand and see that our culture is fading in modern times. It is hard to meet those cultural expectations, so we learn to preserve our culture in different ways.
DEE THAO | 34
can sometimes be difficult,"
DEE THAO | 36
"The goal of my documentary was
matter. Even though my parents’ story
to show Hmong students, youths and
is similar to many Hmong immigrant’s
young professionals, like myself, that
stories, at the same time, it is different
even if you are not fluent in Hmong.
and absolutely unique. In a way, the
You can still preserve our culture.
story of my parents’ story is a piece of
What matters is that you must care
the Hmong history, as is the multitude
enough to talk about and pass along
of other Hmong family stories. All of
the history to your children and their
our stories compiled into one story
creates the Hmong history.
I wanted to show that our history
I hope this film encourages other
starts with our parents because they
people to help preserve the Hmong
lived through those experiences and
culture in their own way, whether that
they should be the first ones you talk
is through teaching Hmong, learning
to in order to learn what questions
about Hmong people or creating art
to ask. I also wanted people to under
about the Hmong people and culture.
stand that each of
Searching For Answers:
SCREENSHOTS | YOUTU.BE/SF6PM6GYFK4
Retracing a Hmong Heritage
DIRECTED & EDITED BY DEE THAO MUSIC & COMPOSITION BY HUGH HAMMOND FACULTY ADVISOR EXTRAORDINAIRE: TONY WATERS, PH.D SOCIOLOGY REMARKABLE TECHNICAL AND GRANT WRITING ADVISOR: BRIAN BREAZEAL, PH.D AN
DEE THAO | 38
Dee is a professional videographer and documentarian based in Chico, California. She immigrated to the U.S with her family in 1994 and moved to Chico when she was around 10 years old. After participating in a smaller learning community called the Academy of Communication and Technology while in High school, she developed a love for visual storytelling and created her first video highlighting Hmong textiles and fabrics. Here, she began learning video production and non-linear video editing. After graduating from high school, she attended California State University, Chico where she created her documentary â€œSearching for Answersâ€?. In 2013 she graduated with double major in Communication Design as student of the year and Asian Studies with honors. Dee currently works as a video and graphics designer at FISHBIO, a fisheries research, monitoring and conservation company. She has made multiple videos documenting fisheries research and the value of fisheries to people and culture in California and South East Asia.
MAIKIA THAO | 40
STORY + PHOTOS BY MAIKIA THAO
Nyob zoo, my name is Maikia Thao and I was born in Phanat Nikhom, Thailand. I was three months old when my family left Thailand and moved to the United States. I am the eldest daughter and the second oldest of six. All of my younger siblings (two brother and two sisters) were born in the States. Growing up, I found it diffcult to adapt to the environment and the culture. Why? Because kuv yog hmoob (I am Hmong)! I was raised in both American and Hmong lifestyles. Although my family practiced Hmong traditions and shamanism, they encouraged me to pursue a higher education. Being the eldest daughter, I was raised to take the role of a typical Hmong girl. And even though
in the future is to build a Hmong senior living home for the community.."
I learned the duties of a well-mannered Hmong daughter I struggled to maintain the American lifestyle. And because of this I wasnâ€™t much of a talker, nor had many friends. I would say that I never really had the confidence in myself, nor did I believe I could successfully achieve any goals.
41 Everything changed during my senior year in high school as I took an interest in business. There was an after school club, FBLA (Future Business Leadership of America), that taught students about the real world and how businesses ran. Students had opportunities to compete in a variety of business categories in the real world. I figured I would give it a try and compete. Little did I know; I took first place regionally and that was when my confidence level exploded. I started to compete more in the Hmong and American communities. I competed in what I knew I would do well in. Although I may not had taken first in most of the competitions, the participation was a great learning experience that I will never forget. I started work at Growing Power at the age of 15 with a working permit and was eventually promoted to be co-assistant manager in the office, where I had the opportunity to present to my boss and co-workers about who the Hmong people were. My boss was interested in knowing more about the Hmongs, so he assigned me to create a timeline of the Hmong people so he could share it at his speeches and workshops during his business trips. I was also able to travel with my boss and meet successful business owners. Growing Power helped me grow personally and opened my eyes and as much as I loved my job, I knew eventually we had to part ways. I wanted more. I took up an internship with Dardis Clothier; a businessmen suit store. My internship was for a sales
My goal in the future is to build a Hmong senior
and communication marketer. During the internship I
living home for the community because I believe in
gained great customer service skills and was able to
order to preserve the Hmong culture, it must start
interact with successful business enthusiasts.
with our grandparents. Generations nowadays are
When I am not proactively educating the
either too busy with work or school that we forget
community about the Hmongs, I leave behind my
or are unable to spend time with those who had
American lifestyle and spend my time at home
helped raised us and gave life to us. It is sad to see
learning about the piritual world and the curing of
our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents
illnesses. At home I am a proper Hmong woman.
at home waiting all day by themselves until their
I cook traditional Hmong meals that bring the
children and grandchildren come home. I hope to
family together. I speak only Hmong in order for my
take the elderly out of their homes for a few hours a
siblings to learn and retain the language, but most
day and place them in an environment in which they
importantly I wear my motherâ€™s hand stitched Hmong
can be active and hopefully be able to spend time
clothes to remind and represent who I am.
with their friends.
MAIKIA THAO | 42
I know from past experiences that success does not happen overnight. Success is built with hard work and the will to do whatever it takes to see that goal come true. It is with this knowledge that I am doing my best to equip myself with the appropriate skills required to run a business and to preserve the Hmong culture and traditions so our future generation will not forget peb lub npe hmoob (our Hmong name).
MAIKIA THAO | 44
Maikia Thao is currently a first year student at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee as a Human Resource major for her Bachelors Degree. In the summer of 2016, Maikia will be attending Milwaukee Area Technical College for her CNA Certification. Maikia plans to open up her own business for Hmong seniors in 2017-2018 after she graduates. Maikia Thao plans to get her business up and running to help the Hmong community because she believes another way to preserve the Hmong culture is to help our Hmong seniors so they can help teach our younger generation the beauty of our culture.
live the life.
don't just exist. (STORY HAS BEEN MODIFIED TO FIT) WRITTEN BY MAI MAI
Lately, I’ve been seeing posts such
really wish that they for once can be in
as “Should I do what my parents say or
my and my sister’s shoes. When I went
what I want to be happy?”, “I do not know
to college I was like a soaring eagle, but I
anymore” and “What should I do with my
never forgot that my goal was to make my
life?” on my social media accounts. These
parents and myself proud.
are people around my age experiencing
A lot of my friends always tell me “My
their mid-life crisis; actually, the correct
parents want me to do that or this, so I
term is quarter life crisis. To be even more
guess I’m going to do it.” I never really had
honest with you, I am also experiencing it
that problem because my parents were
right now while I’m typing up this article.
supportive of what I wanted to do, except
It's just that I only tell my friends
for joining gangs, doing drugs and
about my problems and not publicly.
engaging in prostitution. The typical
Whether you live with or without your
parents, you know? And then my friends
parents, these life crises can come at
would ask me “Oh, what should I do?”
any time. I’m also glad to share that my
They knew I was going to give
life crisis is about to be over because I
decided to accept everything.
because if they really wanted an insightful
I used to live up to expectations, guidelines, and curfews. Heck, I barely went out
response from me, then it would be in a longer and more in depth discussion.
and hung out with my friends during high
Sometimes I feel like I should have
school. I was always home with my older
my own Dr. Phil or Oprah show. How-
sister, studying, cooking and doing chores
ever, you know what? Sharing is actually
like a good house-daughter since my
something I’m good at doing most of the
parents were both busy working. Now,
time. So today I’m going to share six ad-
looking at our younger sisters who seem
vices with you and you can interpret it in
to be more carefree and have the whole
anyway you want.
world to themselves makes me jealous. I
MAI MAI | 46
LIVE YOUR LIFE. DON’T JUST EXIST. I used to be so happy sharing with my friends about the greatness in life that I desired. For example: • Living in my hermit cottage by the beach • Owning a restaurant with my friend’s help • Opening my own clinic near my friends’ clinics • Traveling to places with my friends • Have another house, maybe a mansion, for get-togethers
MAI MAI | 48
49 They all sound possible, but it’s a lot of work to do and a long way to get there. Sweat, frustration, and fear are all in the way holding all of us back. Some of us, though, manage to get through while others don’t. One day, a technician came to fix our stove, he’s the regular guy that always come, and he told me “if you think you’re not ready then it’s actually fear you’re afraid of. If you’re afraid then you might never know all the great things in life you will ever do.” We talked and he told me how sometimes his wife and kids would speak in German (I think?) and he would have no clue, we laughed about it. Then it went on to how he joined the army and he was stationed in the Philippines. He was scared to join the army, but his dad encouraged him. For him, it turned out to be a good thing because he traveled to many countries, got to learn about different cultures, and made a lot of friends, including his wife. He finally told me “Sometimes you do what you gotta do to discover the things that you can do.” I am just an existence right now because I’m not really living the life I want to yet. In the past, I didn’t really handle my own problems and situations well enough. I sort of gave up working on them and started daydreaming about the life I've always wanted. I should had sorted out my problems when they first landed right in front of my feet instead of postponing it for later. However, it’s all part of growing up. The lessons you learn by experiences cannot be replaced by a high test score. It was sort of like a kickstart and a slap in the face for me to wake up from my long dormancy. For example, I may not have a “real” job yet like most of my colleagues and friends, but at least I have a job and I am starting to think more positively. I stop questioning what it is that I want in order to be happy because moping around isn’t going to solve the problem. Taking actions and piecing all the missing puzzles will. It might take awhile, but if you’re still thinking about happiness, then don’t just be an existence, live it.
MAI MAI| 50
Mai Mai is an amateur blogger from Hickory, North Carolina. Mai has been blogging for three years now. During Mai's free time she likes to read, write, draw, take pictures, blog and do her nails! To see more of Maiâ€™s work, you can visit maimaidream.wordpresss.com
MAIKUE VANG | 52
STORY + PHOTO BY MAI KUE VANG
My name is Maikue Vang and I was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. In 2012, I graduated with a BFA in Art Education and in 2015 an MFA in Studio Art. I typically work in fibers and textiles mediums, addressing issues regarding the female body and difficult or taboo subjects such as sexual trauma. I approach the concept of trauma as a non-representational and non-repetitive encounter that permeates affects of loss, conflict, and healing. Through my body of work, I have sought methods of healing and processing as a way to address personal experiences with sexual trauma. Through this process, I've learned to utilize my interaction with other survivors as a key component in continuing the dialogue of addressing trauma, victim blaming, and body shaming as a socio-cultural issue. In my most recent project, Rituals of Empowerment, I attempt to engage individuals who have or know of people who have experienced trauma, in art making as a form of processing and creating connections through dialogue, and most importantly support. At the same time, I am also trying to create work that aligns the Hmong culture with popular culture in my project Mai.Mai which was first launched in September 2013 on etsy.com. The playful shapes and colorful elements in the design of Mai.Mai's creations refer to the bright and highly detailed textiles in Hmong costumes. During my time as an art student, I delved deeply into the origins of Hmong textiles. This interest in garment and textiles is important in both my studio and folk art practice as I have always been interested in the roles of the Hmong woman as culture bearers. Even to this day, Hmong-American women are met with the challenges of maintaining cultural values as well as adapting to modern changes.
MAIKUE VANG | 54
Mai.Mai was a way for me to re-think the materials and the geometric and colorful symbols and shapes that exists in Hmong applique, cross stitch embroidery, and batik in traditional costumes. The idea for the title of the project was inspired by the phrase, "Mai-Mai", which comes from the Hmong language used to describe to little children, 'pretty' and 'beautiful' things. The word "Mai" is also a common name or a term referring to Hmong daughters/girl." Perla Beads, as a medium, was an attempt at creating jewelry that reads as geometric and colorful like the applique, cross stitch embroidery, and batik in traditional Hmong costumes. I first experimented with Perla Beads at an art festival which I volunteered for. After seeing how the beads melted so easily just an iron, I was impressed at the simple yet crafty process. The beads reminded me of the cross stitch embroidery and the fabric.
The initial direction of Mai.Mai was to reincorporate traditional textiles but in a new form, as jewelry. The concept of charms, amulets, and garment has been an important part of my fine arts body of work in recent years. Much of my inspiration for Mai-Mai's Vintage Collection comes from the rustic elements of old Hmong textiles, by literally making them the focal point of each individual piece while keeping in mind how garment, adornment, and ritualistic objects play in relationship to the body, in both Hmong and Western culture. Currently, Mai.Mai has become a way for me to explore pop culture themes through an understanding of traditional Hmong textiles in illustrated prints. Although the progress has been quite slow, the overall project of the series will be made available in color duplicated prints as well as be compiled into a coloring book that would be sold via etsy. My interest in creating this coloring book was to provide young Hmong children with a way to identify and see themselves as reflected in pop culture.
MAIKUE VANG | 56
MAIKUE VANG | 58
The purpose of Rituals of Empowerment is to connect with the community, survivors, and organization on a growing project. This project is meant to bring together a community to show strength and empowerment in the number of individuals, to support a cause. This project seeks to confront oppression and the backlash survivors and their supporters experience in their journey to overcome trauma. Participants do not have to identify as survivors, or allies; all are welcomed. The overall project asks for participants to create their own stains onto cotton. Once they have created their stains, they would have the option of cutting into or apart the stain, which would then be stitched back together with red thread. Participants would have the option of writing a message which could then be stitched into the fabric they have created. The interpretation of trauma is used very loosely, whether it is used to refer to post war, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, or trauma cause by a tragic event, the idea is that participants interpret it. The reason is because trauma is often interpreted in different ways, yet there are effects of trauma that linger our psyche.
MAIKUE VANG | 60
Maikue Vang is a Wisconsin based artist who received
encounter that permeates affects of loss, conflict, and
her BFA in Art Education and MFA degree in Fibers
healing. At the same time she explores methods of
and Textiles at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
cultural subversion through retelling and recreating
Peck School of Arts. She has presented her works and
myths about the female body through re-mythification
written pieces at the Milwaukee Area Hmong Writing
as a way to prevent re-traumatization of the viewer and
Symposium, UWM Teacher's Institute, and the Art
the survivor. You can contact Maikue at maikuevang.
XPress Teen Youth Program. Vang works in fibers and
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can
textiles mediums to address issues regarding the
check out more of her work on her personal website
female body and the difficult or taboo subjects such as
maikue.wix.com/hmongartist | MAIMAI Facebook.
sexual trauma. She attempts to work with the concept
com/mmmaikue | Instagram: maikue.vang
of trauma as a non-representational and non-repetitive
design with meanings STORY + PHOTOS BY PA CHIA XIONG
GET TO KNOW PA CHIA XIONG At age 14, Pa Chia Xiong developed a unique interest in the graphic design world where she began to design web banners and fan-fiction posters for online forums using Adobe Photoshop 7. She soon discovered the joy of creating with the design software. With a genuine interest in graphic design, Pa Chia graduated from Eau Claire North High School knowing her college career would be in graphic design. At age 18, she moved to Los Angeles, California to study graphic design in the entertainment industry at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Upon graduation in 2010 and completing an internship at an LA-based garment company, Pa Chia soon discovered the fashion world. Thus, her ideas, inspirations, and concepts involve graphic prints on fashion bodies, fashion photography, photo retouching, with the main emphasis on beauty. Aside from design projects, she spends her time by collaborating with other artists, reading romance novels of all eras, traveling around the world, and enjoying loads of food. One of Pa Chia’s favorite quotes is, “The best things in life are free.”
DESIGN WITH MEANINGS | 62
K: TELL US ABOUT YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGN EDUCATION. HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO STUDY GRAPHIC DESIGN?
PC: My earliest memory of learning about graphic design was with online forums, artist tutorials, and discovering Adobe Photoshop in middle school. In the online forums, I read stories written by unknown authors and begin to create my own mini posters representing the characters. With this, I taught myself all the tools in Photoshop through trial and error. In high school, I was all about taking art courses such as print graphics and photography. Eventually, those courses lead me to studying graphic design in college. Born and raised in the Midwest, I wanted to discover a bigger city with more opportunities; and so I applied and was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, California in the Fall 2008. My education at FIDM consisted of learning about the foundations of design principles such as approaching concepts, refining design projects through the courses, and discovering various design software programs such as Adobe Illustrator. The biggest thing was the process of taking your concept and then making it into a design – that was the whole process of design that FIDM taught me. K: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR APPROACH TO DESIGN?
PC: When it comes to commercial work, I gather my inspirations, assets, and draw concepts as my first approach. Connecting with a client and knowing what they want is always a first as well. When it comes to my own personal work, my designs come from my own needs and desire to express what I want. An idea can take months or a minute to happen. I always write notes of my ideas on my iPhone to remember how they came be originally. Everything under my personal brand “Pachiaaa” are designs I want to have, show, and share to whomever enjoys my work. K: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR STRONGEST SKILL?
PC: My strongest skill would be photography and then, retouching. K: WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL MOTTO?
PC: “I exist as I am, that is enough.” –Walt Whitman
DESIGN WITH MEANINGS | 64
K: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PROJECT(S) YOU’VE COMPLETED AND WHY?
PC: My favorite project is yet to be shared! It’s actually in the works with prototypes and I will be releasing more information in the next few months. I don’t really have a favorite project though, because I enjoy every aspect of my personal designs. I especially love the branding process. Creating the extra accessories to my main project such as label tags makes me super happy. I feel complete when everything is well packaged and delivered. K: TELL US FIVE LESSONS YOU BELIEVE ARE REALLY IMPORTANT FOR EVERY DESIGNERS OR INDIVIDUALS.
K: DESCRIBE US A BIT ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS WHILE CREATING A PIECE. (IT CAN BE A GENERIC FOR ALL PROJECTS OR A SPECIFIC PROJECT)V
PC: One day I was roaming the catalog pages of Ikea and there was a huge print of a mason jar filled with chilies. It was bright, colorful, and in an open, creative kitchen. That was when the idea of creating my own nab vam drink print for my kitchen came to me. First, I had to learn how to make nab vam. Haha! And then my sister had the genius idea of making a mini Nab Vam cookbook so it took even more time to complete the process. In the end, I captured my cooking process, recorded all my measurements, photographed my main print, selected and edited my prints, and released my
PC: 1. Know your craft. 2. Learn how to communicate
mini cookbook as a free download on Facebook. It was
well via email, messages, and any other source/plat-
fun! You can download the nab vam mini cookbook
form you use. 3. Be authentic. 4. Build your network respectfully. 5. Be kind. You’re less than 6 people away from that ONE person who can make a difference in your life.
K: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL AND/OR PROFESSIONAL GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?
PC: My goal as an artist is to create, convey, and present beauty, pleasure and joy in all my pieces. As long as one of these is in my work, I’m set.
K: WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS THINKING ABOUT AN EDUCATION AND CAREER IN GRAPHIC DESIGN?
PC: Going the educational route in any design field will give you the general and main principles of your craft. It will lay a foundation for you. However, above everything, YOU control how much time you spend with your craft. YOU control how the education will affect you, and YOU control how your career choices will make or break you. In the end, if you are not happy with what you are doing, you can ALWAYS jump off.
nothing is permanent.
DESIGN WITH MEANINGS | 66
Pa Chia Xiong is a contemporary Hmong American artist focused on graphic design, photography, and photo retouching. Currently, Pa Chia is working on a brand new apparel project, which will be released in 2016. Connect with Pa Chia: pachiaaa.com
teller of tales STORY + PHOTOS BY SEE LOR
My name is See Lor, and I was born
happy to be around other students who
in 1972 during the Secret War in Laos. I
looked similar to me. I became more
have very limited memories of growing up
focused in school and advanced quickly in
during the war. When the war ended in
1975, my family escaped to the refugee
However, I married at the young age of
camp of Ban Vinai in Thailand. Life quickly
17 and became a mother. Shortly after, I
changed for us. Days turned into weeks,
and weeks turned into months. Soon, it
Bachelor of Arts
turned into years in the refugee camp.
(2000) and Master of Arts in Educational
In June 1982, my family arrived in Denver, Colorado where I started my first
Leadership (2006) from California State University of Sacramento.
formal education in a fourth grade class.
I became a teacher and taught for ten
One of my greatest challenges was learning
years in the elementary school sector for
the English language and learning how to
the Sacramento Unified School District.
navigate the school environment as a
In 2010, I transitioned to a middle school
new comer. In addition, my parents were
to help improve academic achievement
illiterate in English, so they could not help
for low-socioeconomic students as a Site
me with my school work. During my first
Instruction Coordinator, working with the
two years of education in America, I felt
administration team and teachers to
inadequate, alone, uncertain, and had
improve learning and teaching. Three years
extreme anxiety as a student.
later, I was promoted to Assistant Principal
My family moved to Sacramento,
and have continued to work with students,
California in 1986 where I started school
parents, and teachers at Will C. Wood
in a more diverse environment. Although it
Middle School to sustain success and build
was a poverty stricken school, I was very
a strong and positive learning community.
TELLER OF TALES | 68
a mother & a shaman I am a proud mother of three beautiful children, two daughters and a son. In addition, I am also a proud Hmong shaman and healer. My calling as a shaman was a great turning point in my life two years ago. I was challenged mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually because it required time to practice and a willingness to accept it. Eventually, I learned quickly that to grow as a shaman, I must learn to fully accept who I am and my abilities to help others. Accepting that shamanism is a way of life, a way of healing, and a tradition of our Hmong ancestors for many generations, has brought me much peace, balance, knowledge, and widsom regarding this new aspect of my life. As quoted by Ramana Maharshi,
is the greatest service you can render the world." My journey as an evolving Hmong shaman and healer continues and has turned into one of my great pride and honor. As a shaman, it is also my goal to bring hope and healing to everyone within my influence so they can feel better, be more productive, and live better lives.
TELLER OF TALES | 70
an author/writer When I was just starting out as an elementary school teacher, we didnâ€™t have many books from different cultures that reflected or represented the diversity of many of my students, especially Hmong students. That is why it became a dream of mine to write and publish my own collections of multicultural children's books to enrich the learning and teaching process. My first children's book, THE FORBIDDEN TREASURE (LUB QHOV TSUA NYIAJ QHOV TSUA KUB), is an inspired Hmong folktale that was published recently. Furthermore, as an educational leader, it is also one of my goals to help sustain and preserve the Hmong culture, history, and language in all of my books for future generations. For each book in English that is published by my company, Reading Karma, there will also be a Hmong version produced as well. Reading Karma has one main mission and that is to create, produce, and publish a body of meaningful and purposeful multicultural literature for children. I hope that Reading Karma books will entertain, amuse, and inspire children, parents, educators, and families from all cultural backgrounds to honor diversity and celebrate life through reading literacy. However, my greatest aspiration is to be a champion of reading literacy by making reading a way of life for all children.
TELLER OF TALES | 72
give one of the best gifts you can give;
give the gift of reading!
To all my champions of reading literacy, I want each and everyone of us to have a growth mindset about the Hmong Language. We need to change our thoughts from saying, "I can't read Hmong and I don't know Hmong" to "I will build a collection of Hmong literature at home for my children, so they see how important the Hmong language is." I am going to make sure your collection of Hmong literature grow with value and meaning so that our children will not lose the Hmong language. Treating the Hmong language with equal worth and value is only the first step toward sustaining it. The next big aim is getting our Hmong children and young Hmong parents to be literate in Hmong (reading, writing, and speaking). It's the only way that we can truly say, we are a literate people, especially in Hmong.
See Lor is a middle school vice principal, a writer/author, and a shaman/healer base in Sacramento, California. Lor is currently working on expanding her publishing company, Reading Karma, with more Hmong based folktale books, written in both English and Hmong. She will be writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books for young readers. You can check out more of her books at www.readingkarma.com.
fresh on fashion STORY + PHOTOS BY SHEESO MOUA It all started when I attended the Hmong Milwaukee New Year back in 2012. I went there dressed up in a three piece fitted suit and noticed that other Hmong men and boys were also dressed in a three piece suit.
Moving forward, one year later in 2013,
Some suits were casual and some were more
the three bow ties my mother made me were
traditional Hmong outfits. Right there and
worn to various numbers of occasions. Each
then something clicked in my mind. As an
time I wore the bow ties, I would receive an
entrepreneur, I noticed that I wanted to
incredible amount of compliments. It wasn’t
represent myself as a fashionable modern
until November 2013 when I decided to start
Hmong man. And that’s where the MAGIC
this business that I was so passionate about.
began. I wanted to apply and envision Hmong
The more I did it, the more I fell in love with it
inspired everyday accessories to wear on
– especially having my mom as my partner in
every occasion. Since I was already at the
crime showing me the ropes on how to sew,
Hmong New Year, I decided to purchase six
the meaning behind the different designs
yards of Hmong fabric from a woman who
and just simply being able to share a Hmong
was vending there that day. When I got home
heritage skill set made by hands into every-
that night, I turned to my mom and asked her
day modern wear. With the compliments
to make me a bow tie out of the fabric. With-
and love of sewing, it led me to venture on
in one week she made me the most beautiful
to making strictly men’s accessories; building
Hmong inspired bow tie. I was speechless and
this new legacy that has never been seen or
quite frankly, it almost had me in tears.
done before. When I first launched the business in November 2013, it was called F&S Hmong Modern Wear, but with a lot of new and amazing changes done for the best, I decided to change the business to XIXO Men'S Wear.
XIXO MEN'S WEAR | 74
XIXO MEN'S WEAR | 76
"and thatâ€™s where the
Being Hmong, we are often mistaken as
Hmong person when we wear XIXOmens
Chinese or Japanese. We are lost in a sea of
wear products. Wearing XIXOmenswear
similar faces and at times, we have to explain
identifies us as Hmong wherever we go and
who we are with a brief history lesson
at whichever events we attend.
because few knows about the Hmong.
When we wear XIXmenswear products,
Imagine if you could show who you are
we are proud of ourselves, our background,
your heritage, background and
and our ethnicity. I have incorporated
culture, without a word. That is what
traditional Hmong designs into modern
XIXOmenswear aspires to do.
accessories from bow ties to lapel pins and
XIXOmenswear is my name Sheeso
belts, allowing customers to wear it casually
spelled in a catchier way, while the branding
or to formal events while representing who
mimics who I am as the owner. The most
they are and showing their pride without
important part of XIXOmenswear for my
uttering a word.
customers and I is the pride we feel as a
XIXO MEN'S WEAR | 78
Sheeso Moua is a self employed entrepreneur based in Madison, Wisconsin. Moua is currently working on several projects including paying it forward with sewing paj ntuab, new designs, new ideas, and more collaborations. You can check out more of his company and story at xixomenswear.com
success BE YOUR NOISE
HMONG NEW YEAR photo contest
SHARE YOUR BEST PHOTO FROM THE HMONG NEW YEAR! A picture is worth a thousand words, every year the Hmong New Year is held throughout the world. This Photo Contest was the perfect opportunity for all Hmong New Year attendees to show off their skills with a camera. Note: This contest was not a professional photography contest,
PHOTO CONTEST | 82
Photographer Chris Lo | Facebook.com/limelightphotography
PEOPLE'S CHOICE MOST LIKES SUYENG VWJ
PHOTO CONTEST |84
PHOTO CONTEST | 86
JUDGE'S CHOICE FIRST PLACE BECKY VANG
SECOND PLACE CIA SIAB LIS
PHOTO CONTEST | 88
THIRD PLACE KOU MOUA
RANDOM DRAWING WINNERS
PHOTO CONTEST | 90
WRITE WORDS | 92
write words An interactive activity with Hmong New Year attendtees. Thank you to my volunteer team, Vinai Xiong, Pheng Thao, Soua Lor, Bai Xiong, Tracey Xiong, Pa Ying Xiong, Blia Lor, Ger Lee. These photos were taken at the Sacramento Hmong New Year in California.
BAO VANG. @VANGBAO | YOUTUBE.COM/USER/VVOGUISH
INSPIRE FRAMES | 94
ELIZABETH LEE. @NOMYO
SEE YANG @SEEITSMESEE
INSPIRE FRAMES | 96
YENG LOR. @IANGONE
CHALLENGE 01 | 98
you like about
would like to
overcome in 2016.
Why start this
What made you
List top ten things
A challenge you
to do for fun?
apart from the
you take for
like about yourself.
to be remembered
favorite day of
Describe it in detail.
Write about a person who have influenced your perspective in life.
are real, what type
you learned from.
What do you like
What was your first
If we assume ghosts
What sets you
What is your
Write about a book
of ghost would you
What is something
List five things you
What do you want for?
number one goal
you like about
favorite spot in
things you want to
like to travel to for
the city you live in?
do in your life.
your next vacation
What is your
What is your
Write a list of ten
like to see?
List top ten things
Where would you
trust the most?
you should have
What are you most
Who do you
List five things
A motto you try to
Ten ways to win
if you think it fits
you love about
movie you never get
tired of watching?
Your zodiac sign and your personality.
List your top ten
List top ten things
What's a favorite
Did this challenge
this year BREAK A BAD HABIT LEARN A NEW SKILL DO A GOOD DEED VISIT A NEW PLACE READ NEW BOOKS WRITE MORE TRY NEW FOOD TAKE ON AN IMPORTANT TASK
be a part of
weâ€™d love to hear from you~ & check out your writing and artwork! We are currently open for submissions from creative and passionate talents from the community! We are accepting all kinds of work â€” fiction, nonfiction, essays (not school essays), rants, raves, humor, poetry, short story, photography, video, etc. If we did not mention your type of work, we still encourage you to submit it.
SUBMISSION | 104
WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR For all contributors, both finished work and pitches are welcome. If you are sending only a pitch, please include clippings and/or portfolio samples of previous work. Note that we work between three and four months in advance of our dates. NARRATIVES Original narratives and poetry that tells your story, life lessons, embracement of your authentic self and
INSTAGRAM COLLECTIONS Share with us your artwork and photography! It's a great
more. Written submissions can include accompanying
way to share your daily posts and creativity. Send us 10-
photography or artwork, but we will also pair writers up
15 images that you feel capture your Instagram, your
with photographers or artwork if necessary.
instagram name to email@example.com. If selected, you will need to provide high-resolution images that can be printed at 5" x 5", 300 dpi.
PHOTOGRAPHY & ARTWORK story,
Your copyright remains your own. The author does not
creativity and spirit. Photography can be submitted on
give up their copyright by submitting to Kawm. Your
its own and will be considered for use with narratives
photos will not be used for any other purpose except
or as the background for some of the quotes featured
for publication in the online magazine and the creation
throughout the book. All digital submissions should be
of promotional materials.
sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that if accepted for publication, photographs and illustrations will be needed as hi-res images (300 dpi, at least 6â€? x 6"). It is imperative that they are saved in the proper manner in order for our graphic designers to work with them. If you use a digital camera, check your settings before taking photos to ensure you are saving the bestquality images possible. If you cannot provide large enough photos, we may not be able to print or use your photo, no matter how much we like it.
JOIN US | 106
marketing & graphic design
editorial assistant internships! come join our team
for more information and application for each position , go to
OFFICIALKAWM.COM/TEAM shoot us an email with your qualifications ask . kawm @ gmail . com
START TO HAPPEN WHEN YOU GIVE AS MUCH ENERGY TO YOUR DREAMS AS YOU DO TO YOUR
o f f i c i a l k aw m . c o m fa c e b o o k . c o m / k a w m . t o l e a r n
| @ k aw m _ to l e a r n
t h a n k yo u f o r r e a d i n g k aw m . This is a snippet of Kawm's vision. If you're interested in being a part of Kawm or learning more, you can email us at email@example.com. We appriecate all of the support we have had so far. we will be back and better.
s e e yo u i n
Published on Apr 24, 2016