What is it like to be a young Hmong woman in the U.S. today? An exhibition of work by two emerging Hmong artists, Victoria Kue and Tshab Her, addresses this complex question. Curated by Young Space founder Kate Mothes, In the Between opens January 11 in the Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University. 

The Appleton Public Library, The Draw, and Lawrence University will offer related community programming through the winter. The exhibition and events, free and open to the public, are funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council—with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin—and a grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

Her, who lives in Chicago, creates work that reflects an effort to claim a space as a Hmong woman in Midwestern contemporary culture. Code switching between her traditional name, Tshab (pronounced “cha”), and Jennifer depending on the context, Her cleverly integrates traditional Hmong patterns into witty, reflective textile-based artworks. Kue, of Lancaster, Pa., examines the impact of traditional Hmong gender roles and how this aspect of her identity affects her relationships with others. Both artists will give talks on their artwork and practice as part of the exhibition programming.

“Identity is already complex, but when your nationality does not have their own country it seems to get a little bit more complicated,” says Her. “As I share stories about my experiences as a Hmong American woman, I want the community to see the complexities of my dual-life and how I am able navigate between the different worlds—whether it’s out of necessity or comfort.”

In addition to the opening reception on January 11, the Appleton Public Library will host a book club discussion of Kao Kalia Yang’s The Song Poet, a screening of the documentary Being Hmong Means Being Free, and a creative tween workshop with Tshab Her. There will also be a panel discussion on Hmong identity with the artists at the library on Jan. 12. Lawrence will host three free lunchtime tours of the exhibition, and there will be a closing reception for the exhibition and programs on March 1 at The Draw on South Lawe Street featuring a Storycatchers Live! event and Hmong food, music, and dancing.

January Events

Artist Talk by Victoria Kue

Reception with refreshments to follow

Friday, Jan. 11, 6-8 p.m.
Wriston Art Galleries


Panel Discussion on Hmong Identity

with artists Victoria Kue, Tshab Her, and others

Saturday, Jan. 12, 2 p.m.

Appleton Public Library


Tween Scene Workshop with Tshab Her

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 4-4:45 p.m.

Appleton Public Library


Artist Talk by Tshab Her

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 6-7 p.m.

Appleton Public Library


Exhibition and the full schedule of events

About Wisconsin Humanities Council

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is a leading statewide resource for librarians, teachers, museum educators and civic leaders, who drive entertaining and informative programs using history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone. The Wisconsin Humanities Council also awards more than $175,000 a year over seven rounds of grants to local organizations piloting humanities programming. For more information on Wisconsin Humanities Council, visit http://wisconsinhumanities.org or connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WisconsinHumanitiesCouncil or Twitter at @WiHumanities

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.