Aram Han Sifuentes‘s practice intersects sewing, social practice and subversion…
In 2016, she began a powerful project titled ‘Protest Banner Lending Library’, which advocates for the importance of protest banners in public spaces. The workshops gave the chance for people to make their own banners in a supportive communal space whilst the library meant anyone could check out their own banner to use and take the the streets. Passing through many hands, the banners take on new life in each march the fly in as they travel. Sharp, graphic text is sewn on top of fabric and then taken into public spaces to drape, fly, wave, and flutter in the face of oppression. The banner archive holds a record of all the work made to date, hosting a variety of messages from different voices and giving room to reflect on the way in which people have communicated their protest since 2016.
Aram Han Sifuentes – Artist Statement
“As an immigrant and a daughter of a seamstress, I learned to sew at age six. It was not a choice but rather a necessity to help my mother earn a living. In this way, sewing has ever since been an important part of me, my body memory, and my politics. Sewing is my medium to investigate identity politics, immigration and immigrant labor, possession and dispossession, citizenship and belonging, dissent and protest, and race politics in the United States.
My art practice situates itself at the intersection of fiber, social practice, performance, and pedagogy. At the core of my practice, I create socially engaged and materially rich projects in an ‘art world’ environment that are available and accessible for those who are disenfranchised, particularly for dispossessed immigrants of color.
I confront social and racial injustices against the disenfranchised and riff off of official institutions and bureaucratic processes to reimagine new, inclusive, and humanized systems of civic engagement and belonging. I do this by creating participatory and active environments where safety, play, and skill-sharing are emphasized. And even though many of my projects are collaborative and communal in nature, they incite and highlight individual’s experiences, politics, and voice. Much of my communal work revolves around sharing skills as a point of connection. We share sewing techniques, to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, subversion and protest.”