Memory Into Flesh: A Tribute to the Performance & Activism of Anida Yoeu Ali

“Memory Into Flesh: A Tribute to the Performance & Activism of Anida Yoeu Ali”
A multimedia conversation on stage with the artist recounting her raw energy, powerful vision and unbending conviction that refuses to acquiesce to what bell hooks so blatantly terms “the white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy” from spoken word to graphic design to political activism to writing to Butoh dance to performance art to motherhood.

Saturday, April 10th from 6-7:30pm
Gene Siskel Film Center

STATEMENT: As an artist and a Cambodian Muslim transnational, I am professionally and personally drawn to themes of recuperation and reclamation.  My work synthesizes poetry, movement, video, and site-specific installations into hybrid explorations, often mapping new political and spiritual landscapes. Recalling that the oral tradition saved and preserved Cambodian art, I am inspired as an artist to seek those routes of memory. Memories surface through the body. Memories do not follow linear chronology. Artists have a power to bring out memories, stories, and moments that official history does not always account for. Artists also have a way of disrupting meta-narratives. I perform stories in an attempt to remember my ancestry, my memories, and my relationship to the spirit world. Accordingly, batik sarongs, Muslim prayer garments, my father’s PTSD panic attacks, my daughter’s pterodactyl-like noises, recollections and tales of “Home”, the displaced body, Butoh, my parents’ old photos from Cambodia, turmoil, and joy are all elements of my art. Although my work has increasingly shifted towards movement, dance, and installation, I have never abandoned writing.  Narratives continue to operate, alongside text and writing, as source materials for new works. Performing narratives is an act of social storytelling that contributes to collective healing. Performance and storytelling have become ways of bridging the interior and exterior space of self. This theme of externalizing my interior space is the thread that connects my early writings and performances with my current body of work. Currently, I perform in site-specific locations, often energetically “charged” spaces that utilize yards and yards of textile/fiber. For me, this material acts as an extension of skin, as a way for the surface of my body to extend into public spaces, and as a metaphoric device for stories to spread across an expanse. Rooted in autobiographical experiences my work chronicles my life, my family’s experiences, and my dreams. My work, in all its forms, acknowledges the solidarity of shared historical and diasporic struggles. As an art-maker, I am committed to artistic rigor and a dedicated catalyst for dialogue and change.

Bio: Performance artist, writer and global agitator, Anida Yoeu Ali  is a first generation Muslim Khmer woman born in Cambodia and raised in Chicago. Her interdisciplinary performances use Butoh to examine the poetic potential of the body and collective healing. Her performance work transforms loss into conversations about reconciliation. Since 1998, Anida has toured over 300 colleges and venues with the spoken word ensemble, I Was Born With Two Tongues, and the multimedia collective Mango Tribe. The Tongues’ pioneering live performances and critically-acclaimed debut CD, “Broken Speak”, ignited a new generation of Asian American voices. She is also a founding member of Young Asians With Power!Asian American Artists Collective-Chicago, the National APIA Spoken Word & Poetry Summit, and MONSOON fine arts journal. Her artistic work has been the recipient of grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Endowment of the Arts and Illinois Arts Council. From Copenhagen to Ho Chi Minh City, Anida lectures, exhibits and performs internationally. For more insights, please visit

780 total views, 1 views today