Exhibition dates: 16 December 2016 – 30 April 2017
Hmong Songs of Memory, Hmong Threads of Life, an absorbing multi-media exhibition of photographs, film, artefacts and textiles amassed by researcher and musician Victoria Vorreiter, offers visitors the opportunity to explore the age-old music, ceremonies and beliefs of the mountain-dwelling Hmong of Southeast Asia. The event, which marks the launch of Vorreiter’s book and ethnographic film, Hmong Songs of Memory: Traditional Secular and Sacred Hmong Music, will especially highlight collections of Hmong musical instruments and Hmong clothing representing four subgroups.
The exhibition is being held at Tamarind Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Pua kumbu are magnificent, intricately dyed, hand-loomed cotton ikat textiles once woven as religious objects par excellence by the Iban and the related Dayak peoples who produced them in Southeast Asia. They were said to be full of powerful spirits and designed to be extraordinarily beautiful to attract the attention of the gods and invite them to draw near to human ceremonies. Over decades, emeritus Tufts University engineering professor John Kreifeldt amassed a comprehensive collection of pua kumbu, sungkit wraps and kain kebat skirts from Sarawak and West Kalimantan, with examples from the 1800s to 1940. Kreifeldt is the primary lender and a collaborator on this exhibition at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts; other than a few textiles, most have never been displayed before in any museum.
Fieldwork anthropological essays by curator Susan Rodgers will accompany the exhibition. ‘Woven Power’ is Rodgers’ fifth exhibition of Southeast Asian textiles at Cantor Art Gallery.