Kira Dominguez Hultgren (b. 1980) is a California-based textile artist. She studied French postcolonial theory and literature at Princeton University, and performance and fine arts in Río Negro, Argentina. While in Patagonia, she apprenticed with master weaver Mary Coronado, where Dominguez Hultgren studied the process and history of indigenous warp-faced weaving of Mallín Ahogado on a Mapuche vertical post loom. In 2019, Dominguez Hultgren earned a dual-degree MFA/MA in Fine Arts and Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts. Her research interests include material and embodied rhetorics, loom technologies, decolonizing material culture, and analyzing textiles as a performative critique against the visual. Dominguez Hultgren is represented by Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco, where she had her first solo show in 2018. She is currently a Graduate Fellow at the Headlands Center for the Arts.
Chicanx, Punjabi, Hawaiian: weaving is about strange combinations. Teal penetrates magenta. Gold interrupts. Handspun wool twists with glitter, only to get trapped in cotton. As my mother likes to say when she sees a surprising multiracial body: “who invaded that guy?” Materials erase, seduce, replace, choke as they wind their way through a warp, under weft, are put under tension or are set free of it. 3/8 Indian. 1/8 black and white. Authenticity diluted by eighths!
What are you? I am a weaver of ends, of each generational end. I am a promiscuity of culture in rayon and knit caught in the warp of a backstrap loom, picking out the pattern in a Mapuche poncho. But are these my stories to tell?
I am Hollywood Hawaiian. My work is a tribute to my grandmother Lawhaii (Kikume) Johal. That’s Hawaii with an L. She grew up believing her family was native Hawaiian. Her uncle was Chief Mehevi, Chief Rakos, the authenticating bodily presence of the savage and of the exotic in the jungle movies of the 1920s-50s.
What are you? Check the box. Are you human? Type the code. The “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart” (CAPTCHA) is the puzzle that compels me to choose as I navigate the web. Prove you’re not a robot. But there are too many seams, too many constructed cultural affiliations sutured together.
This is the performance of the unassimilated without homeland: please check one box only. Mark yourself as Other.