Textiles of Exile explores the links between the loss of home and the fiber arts. Working with fibers is not only ancient but easy to seize and carry in an emergency and hide (needle and thread as opposed to a pottery wheel or carpenter tools). It is also the craft most closely associated with storytelling. This exhibition displays work from illegal Hispanic immigrants in California, African slaves brought to the Americas, Afghan refugees in Pakistan, imprisoned women in Chile and relocated Cambodian Hmongs in North Carolina. All call attention to the universality of the "silent scream" of homesickness.
A concurrent exhibition, Barkcloth, Bras & Bulletproof Cotton: The Powers of Costume explores how what we wear helps us lure, seduce, dominate, segregate or manipulate others as well as protect, shelter, shield and modify the human body. Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge both have their pulses on the heart of the people. Their mix of ready-to-wear with couture creatively reflects economic, cultural and political issues in magic all-in-one outfits. —Christina Cass