Nancy Sayavong in a vacant property in San Francisco. 2019.

Nancy Sayavong in a vacant property in San Francisco. 2019.


Nancy Sayavong’s work play with familiar structures that form the foundation of architecture and city planning in both urban and domestic sites. 

She works through understanding everyday markers and materials that occupy the surface. These things are carefully examined and presented to pinpoint layered intimations of built psychological spaces that inhabit cultural belief, ideologies of trauma, misinterpreted histories, and socioeconomic divisions. 

With Sayavong’s experiences in moving through the world as a professional fabricator, a social shifter as a daughter of Laos refugees, a Jew, a queer body, a physically short body, her methods in art making characteristically engage languages of the working-class and the elite consumer with aspirations both opposing and similar. Craftsmanship in part is a great importance to her art practice as it challenges to establish its relationship to socioeconomic value and labor in her concepts. Sayavong is currently an Artist Affiliate fellow at Headlands Center for the Arts. Lives and works in San Francisco, CA.


Born: United States.


2016- 2018 MFA Art Practice, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

2010- 2014 BFA emphasis in Sculpture & Arts Administration, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

2008 Painting & Drawing, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN


  • Rong, Flowers, Nov-Dec 2018, Oakland, CA

  • 48th Annual MFA Exhibition, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, May 11-June 17 2018, Berkeley, CA

  • Small Things Considered: ceteris paribus, Leu Gallery/ Belmont University, March 12-May 4 2018, Nashville, TN

  • Home/Sick, The East Cut, Jan-Feb 2018, San Francisco, CA

  • Gray Matter, PS8 at PLAySPACE Gallery, Oct, San 2017, Francisco, CA

  • Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition, SOMArts Cultural Center, Sept 2017, San Francisco, CA

  • Pride, Kaiser Permanente: Chemical Dependency Recovery Center, June 2017, San Francisco, CA

  • RELAY, CTRL+SHFT, May-June 2017, Oakland, CA

  • Intermediaries, Worth Ryder Gallery, Jan-Feb 2017, Berkeley, CA

  • Artist-in-Residence, Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation, Dec 2016, Berkeley, CA

  • Here's the Thing, Tupper & Reed, Dec 2016, Berkeley, CA

  • Museum and the City: Shaping the Public Realm, Oakland Museum of California, Dec 2016, Oakland, CA

  • Rock Rock Around the Block, Market Street Prototyping Festival, Oct 2016, San Francisco, CA

  • Marking New Paths, Richmond Art Center, Sept-Nov 2016, Richmond, CA

  • Parking Lot Art Fair, Fort Mason Art Center, April 2016, San Francisco, CA

  • New Sculptures, Fabrefaction Gallery, Sept-Nov 2015, Oakland, CA

  • Knockout: Boxing Art, Compound Gallery, Sept-Nov 2015, Oakland, CA

  • Mother Mortar, Sullivan Galleries, March-April 2014, Chicago, IL

  • Private Viewing to Board of Trustees, Art Institute of Chicago, March 2014, Chicago, IL

  • Restoration of the Republic, Magnolia/Glenn, April-May 2014, Chicago, IL

  • Constant Consumer, SUG Galleries, Dec 2013, Chicago, IL

  • Co-op Professional Project, Flaxman Library, Nov-Dec 2013, Chicago, IL

  • Looks Like Live Action, Pop Up Gallery, Oct 2012, Chicago, IL

  • 1st Annual Sweatshop Summer Camp, Chicago Ave, July 2012, Chicago, IL

  • Clearing of the Throat, Etc. Collective, 2012, Chicago, IL


  • Artist Affiliate, Headlands Center for the Arts, 2019-2020, Sausalito, CA

  • (forthcoming) “Queering Conventional”, SECAC conference, Oct 16-19, 2019, Chattanooga, TN

  • Outstanding Graduate Instructor Fellowship Award, GSI Teaching and Resource Center, 2018, UC Berkeley, CA

  • Eleven: The Journal of Sociology, University of California, Volume 8, 2018 Berkeley, CA

  • Cadogan Award, The San Francisco Foundation, 2017, San Francisco, CA

  • Architectural Research Fellow for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Berkeley Center for New Media, 2017, Berkeley, CA

  • Artist-in-Residence, Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, College of Engineering, University of California, 2016, Berkeley, CA

  • Graduate Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, 2016, CA

  • Odyssey Travel Grant, 2012, Chicago, IL/London, UK

  • Barbra Hodges Young Artists Foundation Scholarship, 2011, Nashville, TN

  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago Merit Scholarship, 2010, Chicago, IL

  • 2008 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts fellowship, June/July 2008 Murfreesboro, TN


  • Congregation Sherith Israel, 2018, San Francisco, CA

  • Kaiser Permanente Chemical Dependency Recovery Centre, 2017, San Francisco, CA


  • Adjunct Professor, ART 8: Introduction to Visual Thinking, University of California, Berkeley

  • Lecturer, ART 5: Beginning Sculpture, University of California, Davis

  • Lecturer, ART 151: Intermediate Sculpture, University of California, Davis