SJMQT - Images from "I Was India"

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, April 26, 2020

Collection: I Was India: Embroidering Exoticism - Kira Dominguez Hultgren

Bay Area-based artist Kira Dominguez Hultgren explores what it takes to make an Indian. Her work incorporates cultural and familial materials, as she opens up her grandmother’s cedar chest to reveal two Punjabi phulkaris embroidered by her auntie Dalip Kaur around 1925. Phulkaris, or saloos as her family calls them, are commonly seen as head-coverings and shawls that typify the material cultural practices of pre-partition Punjab. In this exhibition, they become the process or treasure map by which themes of colonial and contemporary exoticism, handwork, and the spectacle are surveyed. Through woven sculpture and installation, Dominguez Hultgren invites visitors to step with her into phulkari practice as a transgressive process that challenges both personal identity and global histories.