Dej Txiaj Ntsim Yaj


Artist2Artist Fellowship


In the collective HMong Western identity, there is a common repertoire that is reflected in all parts of our social imagination, “...we are war-torn people, we have no land or home to return to, our elders are dying, and our culture is becoming obsolete as our young assimilate to survive.” This narrative often shows up when defining what is HMong and where did HMong come from?  It is in this displacement and HMong diaspora that: place, home, loss, change, death, survival, healing, and spirituality, become common themes and subjects of interrogation.

My work engages in HMong ancestral spirituality and healing because this repertoire is a wound that has been festering in us for generations, asking for our attention and asking for something to be done. At large I am interested in installations, photographs, paj ntaub-textiles, and everyday performance as a way to agitate my community, make visible the ghosts in our history, and most importantly, to carefully coax and call our lost souls home.

Featured Image: Dej Txiaj Ntsim Yaj, Hmong Clothes #1 khaub ncaws HMoob #1, 2016. Digital photograph. Image courtesy of the artist.

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Dej Txiaj Ntsim Yaj, Day 224 April 07, 2019, 2019. Digital photograph. Image courtesy of the artist.

Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, Laichee Yang and Dej Txiaj Ntsim Yaj, Mai, collaborative installation, Harry M. Drake Gallery, Saint Paul Academy and Summit Hill School, 2023. Image courtesy of the artists.

Dej Txiaj Ntsim Yaj, los os los os, come come, installation in the Renaissance Hall, North Dakota State University, 2022. Image courtesy of the artist.
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