Barbara Stone Hollander '60 Lecture in Women's Leadership, Featuring Mai Khoi, Vietnamese Artist and Activist

Wednesday, September 7, 2022
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Mellon Board Room

Cost: Free, Open to Public

Mai Khoi is a Vietnamese artist and activist. She rose to stardom in 2010 after winning the Vietnam Television song and album of the year awards. Several years later she became increasingly uncomfortable having to submit her work to government censors and, thinking she could reform the system from within, nominated herself to run in the National Assembly elections on a pro-democracy platform. Her campaign sparked a nationwide debate about political participation. Today, she leads efforts to promote freedom of artistic expression in Vietnam for which she was awarded the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent. Khoi has released eight albums and has toured the US, Europe, Australia and Taiwan. Her activism has, however, come at a high price and it is no longer safe for her to live in Vietnam. Khoi is currently an Artist Protection Fund Fellow at City of Asylum and the University of Pittsburgh where she continues her work.

Mai Khoi’s Bad Activist is an autobiographical performance piece, combining storytelling with state-of-the-art music performance. The narrative charts the extraordinary trajectory of Mai Khoi’s life—from renowned to Vietnamese pop star to dissident activist, fighting for artistic freedom in Vietnam and pitting herself against the strong arm of the communist government. Within this crucible of political titans, international powers, and constant surveillance and threat, Khoi develops a personal and unique art form. Her new sound is rooted in forgotten Vietnamese musical traditions fused with jazz and ripe with political song lyrics. Bad Activist explores both the actual historic events of the artist’s life, as well as the subconscious dream worlds that have fueled her work. For the Hollander Lecture, Khoi will present "Bad Activist" and give an artist’s talk about the piece following the performance.




Fee : Free, Open to Public

Registration has closed. Please contact Dana DePasquale at for additional information.


Mellon Board Room


Mellon Center on Shadyside Campus Woodland Road Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Contact Information

Dana DePasquale
(412) 365-1517