July 24 – 28, 2024

Artist Tia Keobounpheng will speak to the journey that led to her solo exhibition Revealing Threads at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) in 2023 and her ongoing body of work that is informed by epigenetic, historic, and ancestral inquiry. Living in Oulu, Finland as an exchange student in 1995-96, Tia had already acclimated to Finnish culture, language, and some (paternal) ancestral places. REVEALING THREADS was inspired by her return to the Arctic Circle in October 2022. Tracing a nearly lost maternal bloodline of her great-great-grandmother, Wilhelmine, Tia made a 1600-mile solo drive north from Oulu to her birthplace on the northern coast of Norway and back south into Swedish Sápmi to the villages of Wilhelmine’s parents and grandparents. Tia will speak to the ways that her time spent in Sapmi informs her art practice, to the weight of unpacking the label “100% Finnish,” and to the responsibility that comes with claiming Sámi lineage.

Presenter Bio: Tia (Salmela) Keobounpheng is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in North Minneapolis. Born on the Iron Range and coming of age in Duluth with architect-father, David Salmela, Tia earned a BA degree from CALA at the University of Minnesota in 2000. She co-founded Silvercocoon with her husband, Souliyahn Keobounpheng, in 2001 as a means of working on creative work across disciplines. She launched her jewelry line under that label in 2007. She began her return to fine art after earning an Artist Initiative Grant from the MN State Arts Board (MSAB) in 2017. She was awarded subsequent MSAB grants in 2020 & 2022, McKnight Foundation Next Step Fund grants through the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council in 2018 & 2023, and a 2023 Folk Arts and Cultural Traditions grant through the American Scandinavian Foundation. Her fine art has been exhibited at the Finlandia University Gallery in Hancock, Michigan, The Duluth Art Institute, The New Studio Gallery and the Department of Art History Gallery at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, the Anderson Center in Redwing, and the American Swedish Institute and Soo Visual Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her solo exhibition REVEALING THREADS was on view in the US Bank/MAEP Gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Art July 22 – October 29, 2023. Her commission for the Schoenecker Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul will be completed by summer 2024.