Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program at Mia presents new work by Sieng Lee

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The Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) presents “Sieng Lee: Siv Yis and His Wooden Horses,” an exhibition by artist Sieng Lee. The artist draws upon his personal experiences as a Hmong Minnesotan and also the larger Hmong culture to explore what it means to “become American” and specifically what is lost and gained through cultural assimilation. The exhibition opens March 21, in the museum’s U.S. Bank Gallery, and will be on view through June 23.

Lee collaborated with Wa Leng Lee, a renowned shaman, and his community to create an installation that reflects a modern-day retelling of Siv Yis, the first Hmong shaman. The exhibition includes a large-scale sculpture made from wooden benches that rise to the gallery ceiling, illustrating the ascension of Siv Yis. Also on view are a mixed-media wall installation and posters that explore what it means to navigate between Hmong and American cultures and redefine traditional values in a contemporary world.

“Sieng Lee’s work tackles complex questions that do not have easy answers, or even have answers at all,” said Nicole Soukup, assistant curator of contemporary art at Mia and MAEP coordinator.

About the artist

Lee holds a BS from Herzing University, Madison, and an MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is a recipient of the 2015 Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists, Minnesota States Arts Board. He was the lead exhibit designer of “We Are Hmong Minnesota” at the Minnesota History Center, St. Paul.

Related programming

Lee will give an MAEP Artist Talk on Thursday, May 16, at 7 p.m. He will discuss his exhibition and why working with the Hmong community remains central to his art practice.

Generous support for MAEP provided by the McKnight Foundation. Additional support provided by RBC Wealth Management and Helen and Dan Lindsay.

This exhibition is part of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program.