The Art is Her exhibition series celebrates women artists and champions their goal of achieving museum presence equal to men. TMA dedicates its atrium to a series of solo exhibitions by women artists and reminds visitors that equal representation has yet to be achieved in art today.
On loan from the Appleton Public Library, find traditional Hmong Story Cloths in the Museum’s Atrium Gallery through Aug 15. Paj ntaub, or “flower cloth,” has been an integral part of Hmong culture for centuries. Women, who have been the primary producers and keepers of traditional Hmong needlework, typically incorporate symbols of marriage such as the double snail shell, and protective elements such as the rooster in their embroidery. Textiles bind the human world to an environment suffused with the spiritual. Pompoms sewed onto hats serve not only decorative purposes but also to disguise children as flowers to hide them from malevolent spirits. Tiny triangles appliquéd to fabrics symbolize fish scales that serve as a barrier to protect against evil.
This tradition of crossing textiles with meaning explains how a new form of Hmong textile art sprouted: the “Story Cloth.”