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home : community Sunday, November 19, 2017

8/6/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Hmong Cultural Center and the Hmong Archives Launch HmongEmbroidery.org

By Amy Doeun

Those interested in studying Hmong embroidery from all over the world now have an easy resource for searching two great collections-The Hmong Cultural Center and the Hmong Archives. HMONG TIMES Spoke with Mark Pfeiffer of the Hmong Cultural Center, "The idea for Hmongembroidery.org began with the staff and board of directors of the Hmong Cultural Center and the Hmong Archives almost two years ago. We were looking for a way that the two organizations could combine resources from our collections to create an online educational website to promote awareness and appreciation of Hmong embroidery arts."

In August 2010 the two organization made a joint proposal to the National Endowment for the Arts. They were awarded a grant in June 2011 with additional funding provided by the Asian Pacific Endowment of the Saint Paul Foundation later in the summer 2011. "With funding in hand, the Hmong Cultural Center and Hmong Archives staff began meeting in the fall of 2011 to plan the details of the project, including the selection of more than 200 featured artworks from the more than 3,000 included in the collections at the two organizations."

As expected of a project of this magnitude, "The project involved quite a bit of effort. Xai Lor of the Hmong Cultural Center was the Project Coordinator and really a key player in helping us complete the project. He took many of the photographs on the site and also wrote most of the exhibit narratives."

Lor wasn't alone, however, "Kou Xiong of the Hmong Archives worked on the website design. Shoua Xiong of Hmong ABC Bookstore served as a consultant in the development of the exhibit narratives. Marlin Heise along with myself [Mark Pfeiffer] helped edit the exhibit narratives. Noah Vang also contributed several of the photographs of embroidery works in the Hmong Cultural Center and Hmong Archives collections that appear in the online exhibits."

Now the great thing about the site is it is available to everyone, "We are really hoping that the site will be of interest to broad audiences. I would say our target audiences are Hmong children; youth and young adults. Hopefully the website will help promote knowledge among young Hmong people of an important part of the Hmong cultural and artistic heritage. Another primary audience we had in mind were children, youth and adults from the broader population in Minnesota and other states. We would like to promote awareness and knowledge of the Hmong folk arts tradition in communities with Hmong populations and also in areas with few Hmong as a form of multicultural education. It is our hope to be able to raise additional funds over the coming year to put together community exhibits of some of the artworks featured on the website."

The site features embroidery that is both traditional and modern and "paj ntaub, appliqué, reverse appliqué, batik, Hmong attire, Hmong-inspired designs and crafts and ornaments."

Dr. Nengher Vang, Board Chair of the Hmong Archives noted: "Thanks to the NEA and the Asian Pacific Endowment of the Saint Paul Foundation, we can now better appreciate the profound creativity of Hmong artists, the wide-ranging beauty of Hmong embroidery, as well as the invaluable efforts of dedicated individuals at the Hmong Archives & the Hmong Cultural Center to educate communities of scholars, educators, activists, and community members about the richness of the Hmong culture and tradition."

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