2011 - 2013 Jean scraps and gold denim thread 14 ft. x 10 ft. x 4 ft. Courtesy of the artist Photo credit: Hyounsang Yoo
Aram Han Sifuentes
Aram Han Sifuentes is a social practice fiber artist and works closely with Chicago-based non-profit organizations, community centers, and public schools to facilitate workshops for immigrant communities. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Her solo exhibitions include “A Mend” at Hollister Gallery in Wellesley, MA, and “73,000 waiting” at Chicago Artists Coalition in Chicago, IL in October 2015. Her workshops include “Immigrant Takeover” at the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design in Ashville, NC, and “US Citizenship Test Sampler” at the Smithsonian Institution. She is a City of Chicago DCASE grant and Puffin Foundation Ltd grant recipient. Han earned her B.A. in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, and her M.F.A. in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. She is currently a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sewing is a time-based practice. Fiber as a medium speaks a language of accessibility, intimacy, and time. From its inception, it has been touched. To sew, the hand, armed with a needle, pierces the cloth, pulls the needle up, pierces the cloth, and pulls the needle down. Each sewn thread creates an indexical line of invested time, gesture, and rhythm. As an artist I use this needle and thread to mine from my experiences as an immigrant to address issues of labor and identity politics. I try to unpack these complex labor and immigrant histories by engaging with people through long term projects utilizing varied social practices. At the root, is a research-based practice revolved around collecting materials: oral histories, data, commissioned artifacts, handmade objects, and remnants of handwork. I then invest in the materials with my own hands with time and labor in order to create large-scale installations and meticulously labor intensive works. However, being about invisible and Sisyphean labor, my works rarely suggest finality. The needle is a political tool. It pierces and binds membranes together. The thread that it steers is tied off and remains while the needle continues to bind and mend. In my art practice, I use that needle to stitch together various histories and discourses revolving around the simple act of sewing. However, this act is anything but uncomplicated. The creation of each stitch engages sewing’s complex histories and politics of traditional, industrial, feminist, immigrant, and artist labor.
- Born: Seoul, South Korea
- Based: Chicago, IL, USA