Aram Han Sifuentes and the HANA Center are one of the five winners of the 2022 Joyce Awards, which honor collaborations between artists of color and arts and community organizations throughout the Great Lakes region.
“We are taking Korean culture and tradition, which comes with so much decolonial struggle and collective action for racial, social, and economic justice, and making it our own in the diaspora. This project gives us a vehicle to bring our communities together, talk about immigration and citizenship, tell our stories on these NongGis and display them throughout Chicago as a statement of shared purpose and identity.” -Aram Han Sifuentes
Drawing on Korean folk traditions and artistic practices of resistance, Aram Han Sifuentes’ Citizenship for All: Storytelling for Immigrant Justice through NongGi Making will engage multi-generational, multi-ethnic immigrant communities in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood through storytelling and hands-on artistic creation. In a series of workshops, participants will share their experiences around immigration, discuss histories of systemic injustice and liberation, and learn a wide range of textile techniques to create protest banners modeled on traditional Korean NongGi flags, a symbol of political resistance with deep cultural and historical roots. The banners will be displayed as rotating public art installations at HANA Center and in partnership with other local identity-based community organizations, art institutions, and schools. Citizenship for All uses story-sharing and co-creation as an avenue for outreach and community engagement around HANA Center’s cultural resources and advocacy work, building solidarity and collective action towards racial and immigrant justice.
Aram Han Sifuentes (b. 1986) is a Chicago-based fiber and social practice artist, writer, and educator who works to center immigrant and disenfranchised communities. Her work often revolves around skill sharing, specifically sewing techniques, to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, subversion, and protest. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago), Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis), moCa Cleveland (Cleveland), and currently at the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles) from April to September 2022. Aram is a 2016 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, 2016 3Arts Award and 2021 3Arts Next Level Awardee, 2020 Map Fund Grantee, and 2022 Center of Craft’s Craft Research Fund Artist Fellow. Her project Protest Banner Lending Library was a finalist for the Beazley Design Awards at the Design Museum (London, UK) in 2016. She earned her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently a professor, adjunct, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a board member of NAKASEC.
HANA Center (HANA), launched in February 2017, is a merger of Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC, est. 1995) and Korean American Community Services (KACS, est. 1972). HANA means “one” in Korean, symbolizing unity and wholeness. HANA’s goal is to provide all programs and services by supporting each community member as a whole person. HANA brings together a combined 75 years of experience providing essential services, cultural and arts programming, and community organizing with a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, immigrant, and Korean American community base. Each year, HANA engages 14,000 Korean and multi-ethnic community members through its Chicago and northwest suburban centers.
Image: A banner from Aram Han Sifuentes’ 2016 Protest Banner Lending Library project was used at the Home is Here! March for DACA and Temporary Protected Status in 2019, an 18-day, 230-mile march from New York City to Washington, D.C. for which the HANA Center was a key organizer and sponsor. Photo credit: OffThaRecord x Steer.