Growing up, I was taught that being a Hmong woman is about continuing the culture and tradition, having a good marriage, and starting a family. As an American woman, I learned that I wanted to follow my dreams, making a living for myself, and to be independent. I have realized how significantly both cultures have affected me as an artist and as a person. In my work, I explore my struggles and knowledge of both cultures and have used it as a means of self-reflection.
My works concentrates on self-portraits through different techniques and materials. Each material has its own unique texture and application, which express each theme differently. My large scale works focus on facial expression, color and high contrast is used to expressively convey emotions. Shapes and text are then used to create the impression of fleeting thoughts, memories and influences.
Although my views on Hmong woman and American woman may differ from other people, I think that this is in part what makes my work unique. However it can be said that the characteristics of a Hmong woman and an American woman in my work applies to everyone and no one. As Confucius said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
Sherry Maivkib Herr is a Hmong-American artist from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Focusing primarily on self-portraits, Herr believes that one cannot understand others without first fully understanding oneself. Inspired by her large family and colorful Hmong culture, Herr uses mixed media and a diverse range of colors and pattern to explore the connection between her Hmong and American cultures. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the Spartanburg County Library Headquarters.
Herr is currently located in Charleston, South Carolina, continuing her research on art application and culture expression.