ALL OF MY GRANDPARENTS ARE REFUGEES (2024) is a hand sewn, embroidered, and embellished 보자기 bojagi. My intuition guided the creation of this textile, embracing both queer and Hmong aesthetics.

I started sewing bojagi — a traditional Korean textile — by stitching together synthetic floral Hmong fabric; 한지 hanji or Korean mulberry paper; polyester embroidery thread; and a cotton-blend fabric.

As I sewed, I noticed my shoulders aching from generations of women performing this same repetitive motion. I connected with my ancestors through this shared act, and lines of a poem — a prayer — fell from my fingertips onto the fabric:

All of my grandparents
Are refugees
I remember
I pray
I listen

I hand stitched these words in cotton embroidery floss until I hit the end of the bojagi. I finished the piece by sewing on faux pearls and replicas of French-Indonesian silver coins — another homage to Hmong textile aesthetics.

Bojagi is a Korean wrapping cloth that gained popularity in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It was traditionally sewn from leftover fabric and used to wrap goods (ritual and marriage objects, food, clothing, etc). Bojagi features a unique style of sewing the seams that allows the textile to be reversible and durable. Today, bojagi is created by contemporary artists around the world.

ALL OF MY GRANDPARENTS ARE REFUGEES has been exhibited at the ISB Gallery (Providence, RI).