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Funk Center Hosts Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America

Elephant’s Foot, 1990, cotton, 16 x 16, private collection. © Sae Her. Photo: E.G. Schempf.";s

Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America

September 23 - December 16, 2017

Due to Hurricane Irma, the opening of Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 23rd. Apologies for any inconvenience…we look forward to seeing you soon!


Hmong flower cloth (or paj ntaub) is one of the world’s great textile traditions and an excellent example of cloth as community. Despite its deep roots in Hmong culture, this complex art was not widely known outside Asia until after the Vietnam War, when Hmong refugees arrived in the United States. The works illustrate the profound relevance of textiles as infrastructure in the Hmong culture, an art form that shifted as it adapted to fit new realities. The exhibition features 28 textiles—flower cloths and embroidered story cloths—by those in the Hmong community.

Organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national part of Mid-America Arts Alliance, the exhibition was first curated in 1999 by Carl Magnuson, a cultural anthropologist, working with a Hmong refugee community. Curatorial updates have been done by Geraldine Craig, who has published more than a hundred essays on contemporary art and Hmong textiles, in venues such as the Hmong Studies Journal, The Journal of Modern Craft, Art in America, and Surface Design Journal.

Cloth as Community is a program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Images (from left): Story Piece, 1990, cotton, 35 x 36, private collection. Photo: E.G. Schempf.; Sae Her, Elephant’s Foot, 1990, cotton, 16 x 16, private collection. © Sae Her. Photo: E.G. Schempf.

Terri Wright has held the position of General Manager at WFIT since 1998.