Textiles - Hmong

A collection of ten embroidered textiles, including one particularly impressive storycloth by Hmong artist Xao Yang Lee of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, were acquired by Kohler Foundation. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Xao Yang Lee and her children escaped by crossing the Mekong River. She lived in Thai refugee camps where she and other women put their traditional needle-working skills to a new use by creating  "storycloths," which were embroidered textiles that pictorially described life before and during the war along with their harrowing escape from remote mountain villages. Storycloths emerged as a strong and lasting record of their experiences. In the dramatically different culture of the Midwest, the traditional arts learned by Xao Yang Lee became her primary link to the homeland she lost, as well as a source of income and a practical means of survival.

This collection in now part of the textile collection at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.