Community | Joy & Friendship. Image courtesy of the artist.
Community Love & Friendship is a community-based, participatory, multimodal art project. It is guided by the lived experiences of refugees and 1st and 2nd generation Hmong-American community builders, creatives and artists Pang Foua Xiong, Mai Vang, Suzanne Thao, and Sandy Lo.
Connecting communities one thread at a time.
Rediscovering Joy during times of uncertainty.
Weaving how we come together, heal, find joy and newfound friendships.
An interactive exhibition and journey strengthening relationships to ourselves and each other in community, this project is rooted in centuries-old Hmong embroidery practice of Paaj Ntaub (“pan-dow”): vivid needlework incorporating symbolic images/codes, preserving stories – evoking family, nature (thus “flower cloth”), love, perseverance, or folklore. Inspired by the story of Suzanne Thao, who – while living within the walls of a refugee camp – created a unique multi-colorful Flower Cloth, embroidered with threads she gathered from others in the camp. A special piece that is now known as “Friendship” – paaj ntaub that serendipitously leads to the start of healing a broken heart, reconnecting, finding joy in the simplest of things and the beginnings of forever friendships. Suzanne’s story captures the very essence of human resilience in the face of adversity, and the magic of the collective in imagining new futures.
Thank you Hmong Musuem for your support. | Ua Tsaug Hmong Museum kev txhawb nqa.
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Pang Foua Xiong is a first-born generation Hmong-American Mother, Social Entrepreneur, multidisciplinary Creative, Culture-Bearer and Community Builder based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Xiong is a life-long learner and connector who is passionate about creating work that expands hearts and minds, inspiring new possibilities.
Mai Vang is a Storyteller and Community Connector. A museum enthusiast, Mai has extensive experience in collections care and curation, exhibit development, museum education, and grant writing. Mai holds a M.S. degree in Anthropology and a Museum Studies Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is Executive Director and founder of the Hmong Museum in St. Paul, MN and currently supports the Minnesota Historical Society managing volunteers.
Sandy Lo is a Finance and Accounting professional, graphic artist and volunteer supporting entrepreneurs and nonprofits such as the Hmong Museum. Lo’s passion is in cultivating Hmong arts, and she does so by teaching traditional Hmong dance and sewing traditional Hmong clothes. Lo worked with Hmong Cultural Center and Community School of Excellence in their dance program and designed traditional clothing for dancers.
Accessibility notes: this project takes place on grassy ground which may be uneven. Scent sensitivity – eucalyptus oil is used on some materials. Written information is bilingual in Hmong and English.