Kim Sandara is a queer, Laotian/Vietnamese, artist from Northern Virginia and now based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2016, she graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, with a BFA in General Fine Arts. She’s shown work at various DC community events. in 2019, the National Museum of Women in the Arts' gift shop collaborated with her to create an event ""Being"" showcasing her work and guiding visitors to draw music. She has been featured in Visart's Gen 5 exhibition, the Torpedo Factory's 2019 Emerging Artists exhibition and the Washington Project for the Arts’ 2019 Auction Gala. In her Torpedo Factory summer 2019 Post-Grad Residency, she created a stop motion animation about her parent's immigration story intersecting her coming out story. She used the studio space as a shop to raise funds for local and national LGBTQ+ non profits empowering queer youth. In her 2020 Bresler Residency at VisArts, she focused more on Lao identity work. One main project she's currently working on her graphic novel ""Origins of Kin and Kang"" about her coming out story. Another is the 270 Million Project ,which is a series of abstract paintings inspired by Lao music that helps fund removing the bombs left over from the Secret and Vietnam Wars from Laos. She works at Welcome to Chinatown, a Manhattan based, volunteer run organization dedicated to supporting small and local Chinatown businesses in the mist of the pandemic. She is also a graphic novelist for the API Domestic Violence Resource Project, working on a graphic novel centering survivor stories. Kim loves to keep herself busy with art, activism, writing tons of letters to her friends and soaking in information via reading, watching documentaries and wandering around NYC.

Media: Gouache on Paper, Acrylics on Paper, Ink Markers on Durlar

Year(s): 2019, 2020

My practice involves translating sounds to visuals. In the group of paintings I've submitted, the pieces go from a curiosity with a Southeast Asian superstition while using collage to reflect on my past and present sense of self (Don't Whistle, You'll Wake Up the Spirits, 2019) to two layered pieces (Fight, Freedom, 2020) listening to my dad's old Lao music vs. my American music I grew up with. The last two pieces (Break, Break, Break and The Renaissance will Come! 2020) express my hesitancy and questioning with the pandemic and optimism in continuing on. My work is about visualizing and processing emotions, queer escapism, nostalgia and identity.

Participating Organizations

Asian Pacific Islander Queer Society (APIQS) provides educational, social, and cultural activities for queer female-identified, gender-nonconforming, and transgender people of API descent in the DC metropolitan area.

Asian and Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA) is a volunteer-based social and advocacy organization for the the queer and transgender members of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. To achieve this overall vision, AQUA works closely with other API and queer-identified organizations through advocacy, coalition building, education, networking, outreach, and support events.

The Capital Pride Alliance, through its stewardship of diverse programming and events, specifically year-round LGBTQ+ Pride festivities centered in Washington, DC and the National Capital Region, serves to celebrate, educate, support, and inspire our multi-faceted communities in order to grow and preserve our history and protect our rights for current and future generations.

KhushDC is a social, support and political group that provides a safe and supportive environment, promotes awareness and acceptance, and fosters positive cultural, sexual and gender identity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and additional gender or sexual minority (LGBTQ+) South Asians and the South Asian Diaspora in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. We represent a broad array of nationalities including those of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

KQT DC is composed of LGBTQ+ individuals and parents of Korean descent and allies in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC area, committed to promote a welcoming space for fellowship and support, and advocating for LGBTQ rights in our communities.

The DC's Mayor's Office on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs was created in 1987 Commited to promoting and engaging the District's Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents and business owners so they may successfully integrate into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the District, As the Mayor's liaison to the AAPI community, we connect AAPI residents and businesses with the District agencies to foster efficient and effective partnerships, improve access to services, and help break down language and cultural barriers.

NAAAP DC is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit, professional association. Founded in 1982, NAAAP is the oldest, largest, and fastest-growing pan-Asian organization for professionals, with thousands of members in 31 chapters across North America and China. The DC Chapter is one of its most active, emphasizing: Professional Development Programs, Community Engagement, Cultural Programs, Networking, and National and Regional Leadership Conferences.

Participating Sponsors