Rebecca Stevens, a Forest Hills neighbor, has spent the last two and a half years working on a new exhibit opening Saturday, April 16th at the Textile Museum, which reopened a year ago as part of the George Washington University Museum. Stevens gives us some background on how this exhibit came to be. Please sign up for what looks to be a fascinating tour and pass along the information to friends.
by Rebecca A.T. Stevens
Two and a half years in the making, Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora is an exhibition at the George Washington Museum and The Textile Museum which I have curated with my colleague Lee Talbot. In this juried and invitational exhibition, 44 artists share personal and universal stories of migration – from historic events that scattered communities across continents to today’s accounts of migrants and refugees adapting to a new homeland.
The idea for the exhibition grew out of a 2014 conversation with a representative of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), an international textile artists’ association, who suggested that exploring the theme of diaspora and migration would be of interest to its 3,400 members. The Textile Museum staff found the topic both relevant and timely and Talbot and I decided to further develop the concept. Our decision led to invitations and calls for proposals that generated a show by six invited artists and 39 SAQA members who were selected by juried competition.
When I began to organize this exhibition I had no idea how central the theme would become in 2016. One only has to look at a newspaper, turn on the television, or surf the Internet to find riveting images illustrating the plight of immigrants as they flee war, economic hardship, and despair in search of a better life. The story of migration and diaspora is not one story but millions, as almost two in ten persons living in a developed country are migrants, according to GW professors Jennifer Brinkerhoff and Liesl Riddle. The artists in this exhibit skillfully comment with fabric, needle and thread on diaspora, the overarching narrative of our time.
Stories of Migration; Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora is a museum collaboration with the GW Diaspora Program and SAQA and will be on view April 16-September 4, 2016. The Textile Museum is located at 701 21st Street, NW on the George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus. See museum.gwu.edu for hours and to plan your visit.