Monday, June 18, 2007

Hmong Embroidery

Hmong Embroidery
Originally uploaded by notionnanny
An interesting side note is that many of Dianne Ayres's embroiderers are from Laos, and she originally found them through a local program that was set up to to serve Laotian refugees by fostering the use of traditional skills such as embroidery to tell their stories, build community, and earn some income.

There is a fascinating tradition of Hmong embroidery that depicts the perilous journey of Laotian refugees to America. This pictorial embroidery was made by Mee Van (age 79), who came from Laos to the U.S. in 1983. She made the embroidery in 1988 to tell the story of her family and friends' escape from their village of Nasou.

The story begins at the top, where at the left Communist government troops are fighting Vietnamese soldiers. At the upper and middle right of the piece is a fascinating range of village activities, both work and play. Then we see people starting their long trek south and westward, setting up temporary camps along the way. They finally reach the Mekong River; some float across on inner tubes. They are met by Thai Immigration officials, where they are interrogated and furnished with papers for their trip to the U.S. There's a refugee camp at the bottom, and finally, at the lower left, they head for buses and a plane that will take them overseas.



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