Her named Minnesota artist of the year

Pao Houa Her
photo by Barry Williams for the Star Tribune

Hailing photographic storytelling that “blends fiction and reality to create new diasporic mythologies,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune has named Pao Houa Her its 2022 Artist of the Year. With highlights including participation in the Whitney Biennial, a Walker Art Center solo show, and a presentation at Paris Photo, it’s been a banner year for the Hmong American artist. But in her profile, Alicia Eler focuses on Her’s local roots and her commitment to the Hmong community, where, it turns out, her international art-world recognition hasn’t translated to celebrity.

“Sometimes I really relish the fact that I’m a nobody in the [Hmong] community,” Her tells Eler. “I don’t have an audience—or the perception is that I don’t have an audience, so what I have to say doesn’t really matter. There’s something really powerful about that—not being a public figure and not having to answer to anybody has really helped me in the ways I am able to work.”

Read “Artist of the Year: Internationally renowned photographer Pao Houa Her illuminates Hmong culture