Kira Dominguez Hultgren (b. 1980, Oakland, CA) is a U.S.-based artist and educator. She studied French postcolonial theory and literature at Princeton University, and performance and fine arts in Río Negro, Argentina. With 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, re-storying material culture, and weaving as a performative critique of the visual. Dominguez Hultgren has exhibited her work at the de Young Museum, headlined Untitled, ART SF, was featured in Architectural Digest, and reviewed in the New York Times. She has had three solo shows with Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco, where she is represented, a solo show at Heroes Gallery in NYC, and her first solo museum show at the San Jose Museum of Quilt and Textile. Curated group exhibitions include shows at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York City, the Roswell Museum in New Mexico, and Kent State University in Ohio. Her fellowships and residencies include the Headlands Center for the Arts, Facebook, and Gensler Architecture. Dominguez Hultgren is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
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.