No one can say the Herb Society Art in Bloom artists are shy about taking on challenges. The year horseradish was the herb of the year comes to mind, when we worked hard to display a horseradish root as part of the arrangement. Last year’s Medusa doorknocker was completely different from anything we’d ever tried, yet it turned out to be an exceptional arrangement by all accounts. This year’s selection is by far the largest art work we have ever chosen, so it will be a challenge as well. We have chosen a group of twelve paintings entitled Hmong Migration, part of a series of 50 paintings by Cy Thao, a Hmong artist from the Twin Cities who also was the first Hmong person to be elected to the Minnesota legislature. With talk of refugee crises around the world in the news, consideration of the Hmong people who fled persecution in their homeland, provides telling insights into the plight of people living in war torn areas. Painted in the tradition of the Hmong “story cloths” which are like picture books without words, Thao’s canvases trace Hmong history from their creation narrative, through five thousand years of history, including wars, persecution, struggle, multiple migrations, and finally creating home in America. Spanning a time frame of painting the series from 1993 to 2001, Thao says, “I want the series to educate the younger generation, to have some closure with the generation that went through the war, and hopefully to become a historical document for generations to come.”
Art in Bloom starts on tonight and continues through Sunday, May 1st. Admission is free and you can see the Herb Society arrangement in Gallery 374 along with over 160 other floral arrangements at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts at 2400 3rd Ave. S, Minneapolis.