Art Opening Reception: Weaving Home: Textile Traditions from Houston's Karenni Community
Houston is home to refugee communities from around the world. They all bring with them distinctive traditions. The exhibition, Weaving Home, focuses on the weaving traditions practiced by women from one such community, a collection of Karenni families who now live in the city.
Formerly from Myanmar (until recently known as Burma), the Karenni is a distinct ethnic community with origins in the country's mountainous region bordering Thailand. The Karenni weaving tradition is mostly used for garments and it is identifiable by the distinctive palette, designs and objects produced. Weaving Home shares some of the finest examples of customary items made by local craftswomen, but also explores the way they have adapted the tradition as a strategy for economic, cultural and community sustainability.
Working with a Houston-based micro-enterprise endeavor called The Community Cloth, a program of the Houston nonprofit Our Global Village, Karenni craftswomen have continued to produce traditional weavings but also to create items that appeal to a western market. The weavers have experimented with new color combinations and patterns and applied them to the creation of objects such as shawls, scarves and tableware. Weaving Home shows examples of both Karenni traditional and market-influenced pieces in an effort to tell the story of an art form at the center of refugee life.