Mai Vang Yang: Shaman, Healer
A photo collection of some of the tools that Mai Vang Yang used to bridge the physical and spiritual worlds in her healing practice, and which the Hmong Archives in St. Paul, Minnesota collected when she passed in 2017. I was particularly drawn to instances where she might have transformed an object through the carving of wood, the braiding of fabric or the initialing of one of her tools, leaving a lasting archive of her lifework and spirit in the physical realm.

Ms. Yang was a member of the Temple of Hmongism. Based in St. Paul, the Temple's mission is to simplify Hmong traditional religious practices in order to dramatically reduce time and cost and to inspire future generations to proudly remain with Hmongism as their faith.

I would like to express my deep-felt appreciation to Marlin L. Heise for his patience and generosity in providing me guidance and access to the materials and artifacts collected in the Hmong Archives.

Boone Nguyen is a recipient of the 2018/19 MCAD-Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Early Career Artists, administered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and funded by the Jerome Foundation.

Photo credit: Rik Sferra


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