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BoatMH0037

Work in progress. Textile installation (150x150 cm)

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As soon as the red string from the pink box full of steamed buns came undone, it was mine. I coveted those strings; collected and plied them together for my collection. These early memories sealed my love of thread, like the string securing the box of baked goods from tumbling to the ground. The Vietnamese Boat Refugees planted roots in Oakland’s Chinatown in California. They opened restaurants and markets building a community for themselves. While Dad and Grandpa worked at the family restaurant, Great Grandma, Grandma, and Mom taught me how to sew, crochet, and knit. During these moments, stories were shared of their previous life in Vietnam and China. Needlework wasn’t just a skill passed down from one person to the next, it was a shared experience which tied the generations together. Textiles are universal and connect us to the past and across cultures, without the need for words. Through textiles, I explore the themes of identity, community, and their interconnectedness. Identity can be seen as connections, much like thread, that are continuously changing as the individual and the community evolves over time. The community is composed of individual identities who share commonalities such as experiences, location, heritage, and culture. Like the red string from my childhood that connects me, I use thread to explore how individuals come together in a community, developing a collective identity.

Bio
Jinny Ly is a Teochew-American textile artist based in Dublin, Ireland. Born and raised in California, she spent most of her time in Oakland’s Chinatown where her refugee family settled after fleeing the Vietnam War. Building a new life in America meant that Jinny’s family prioritised the health of the family unit and refugee community during her childhood. Growing up poor meant that her family was flexible and made-do with the things they had access to. This quality was passed down to Jinny and she chooses to work with found objects where she incorporates crochet, sewing, and embroidery skills passed down through the family matriarchs, into her textile work. She refers to her family history and multicultural experiences as inspiration for her textile sculptures. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from San Jose State University under textile artist Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Jinny is currently pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts at the National College of Art and Design in Ireland.
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