Indigo Hands


Digital collage and motion design, 2018

Indigo has been used for several generations by Hmong women of the Black Hill Tribe in Việt Nam to hand-dye hemp fabric in a pattern method better known as "batik". Today, indigo batik or indigo paj ntaub (literal: flower cloth / english: textile art) are crafted by the same communities but predominantly for mass-distribution in the west. With only a few Hmong peoples still versed in the practice, they can be distinguished by their permanently stained indigo hands. These hands have braved the marks of many decades from which materials that were once made to clothe their own families, have now become a coveted emblem of "artisan culture"--filling the capitalist void of boutique shop owners and their consumers. 

This on-going series adapts analogue textures with digital collage to bridge the intergenerational lineage of Hmong artists and pattern makers. Through digital design, hands in the western context are no longer submerged in organic tactile or stained at the touch of indigo. They are lost in yearning, disenchanted by modernity and re-envisioned to wield the tools that virtualize our connection with the diaspora.