ABOUT THIS COLLECTION
Hmong in the diaspora are reconnecting with their roots through contemporary means such as tattoo. Through this collection, visitors can examine portraits of individuals who have chosen to permanently represent their heritage through tattoo. The collection explores the interconnectedness between the Hmong and their environments through traditional Hmong textile designs.
Symbols of the environment
There is a close relationship with the Hmong and the Mekong River. As farmers, it was a source for livelihood but later, as the Hmong fled from war, the Mekong became the obstacle standing between persecution and refuge.
As a community, whose daily lives were tied to the land, geometric symbols on textile designs are pulled from nature. The metaphoric phrase for textile is itself is a metaphor – paj ntaub meaning flower cloth.
What was once considered an act of rebellion, now is an expression of pride
HMONG FLOWER TATTOO CREW
Twin Cities artist, Tou Saiko Lee lead the Hmong Flower Tattoo Crew in the creation of the Hmong Tattoo Exhibit for Northern Sparks in the Little Mekong District in 2017.
Photographer, Kazua Melissa Vang, used photos of tattoos she took of Hmong people from all over the world for the original exhibit. It was showcased on archival inkjet print on cloth material framed with bamboo poles.
Touchang Yang, videographer from In Progress, shared his talent in creating memorable videos for the exhibit.
- How do you show your pride? In this creative exercise, students discuss what makes them proud to be Hmong, then given a template to design a t-shirt to show their pride. Download the worksheet >>