Tcheu Siong

Luang Prabang

Born in Luang Prabang, 1968. Lives and works in Luang Prabang.
Tcheu Siong is a self-taught artist with a prolific textile practice in hand stitched embroidery and reverse appliqué. While such techniques have been integral to Hmong culture for centuries, Tchue’s compositions and iconography depart from Hmong traditions of geometric abstraction, favoring organic and bold figurative motifs that foreground a field of white. While differentiated, her works retain Hmong designs’ symbolic function to express identity and culture through a visual language within an oral culture. Tcheu’s process involves both receiving images in her dreams as well as creating her own designs in order to design and plot the infinite characters populating the Hmong spirit world. While at times her complete compositions narrate specific oral histories, at other times Tcheu welcomes multiple readings of her work. In the artist giving presence to the unseen, she in turn gives agency to the active and complex role of spirits in everyday life, such as those for fertility or good health, to those who invoke punishment for harming the land, to elder spirits who train adolescent ones how to govern fairly. Yawm Saub Chao / Chao and the Three Spirits narrates the story of the immortal spirit who gave birth to the eighteen family names that comprise Hmong identity.
Photo: Yves Bernard.