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K-State Today

December 8, 2011

Art professor presents Hmong textile research in New York

Submitted by Geraldine Craig

Geraldine Craig, department head and associate professor of art, presented the paper "Hmong Borders: Visual and Psychic" at the 25th annual National Conference on Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists, School of Visual Arts, New York City, Oct. 19-21. This interdisciplinary conference, hosted by the top-ranked School of Visual Arts, selected papers from their request for proposals that addressed the conference theme "Crossing the Borders."

Craig's paper focused on how the visual borders in Hmong clothing and story cloth wall hangings serve as formal device and metaphoric narrative. In Laos, the Hmong were independent of geopolitical borders in a deliberate choice to remain state-less, and the clothing was essential to asserting an identity separate from any national alliance. While Hmong-Americans in the diaspora have adapted new textile forms, one constant from the traditional patterns is the prevalence of visual borders as part of a new transnational identity.