Catzie Vilayphonh is a Lao American writer, spoken word poet, and performance artist. She uses her work to inspire other Asian Americans, particularly Lao Americans, to embrace the arts and find new ways of preserving and documenting cultural heritage. As a member of a community marked by trauma and war, Catzie is especially interested in examining how one begins a process of remembering what another tries to forget and how first- and second-generations can connect with a country to which they can no longer return.
Catzie’s poetry confronts racial stereotypes, analyzes the notions of racist love versus racist hate, and exposes the racial sexualization related to the trafficking of women and children from Asia. Her art also addresses issues such as generational divides within refugee-immigrant communities, the complications of language barriers, and being a member of an ‘unpopular’ ethnicity. Catzie believes that by sharing what has been lost or learned in the process of emigration and assimilation that one can retell their own folktales, rewriting history along the way. She sees her art as contributing to this process, ultimately preserving and extending the legacy of Lao Americans.
Video produced by Tatiana Bacchus (ACG '09)