Mar 28, 2010

Introductions: Erin Chlaghmo

This week's MFA Fiber and Material Studies lecture will be presented by Erin Chlaghmo. She grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and holds an BA in both Fine Art and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Redlands. After completing her undergraduate degree she spent a year working a teacher on a American Indian reservation in Southern California. With her husband Karim Chlaghmo, she co-founded the Morocco Cultural Exchange. There organization leads experiential tours to Morocco and provides, "cross-cultural experiences that transcend normal touristic activities."

Chlaghmo's own cross-cultural experiences have influenced her recent bodies of work. She brings together fabric and cultural/personal ephemera to create her assemblages. In her wall mounted fabric pieces, Chlaghmo develops a dialog of cultural conflict and misrepresentation. These pieces combine work that is often loaded with false tropes to expose a hidden conflict. One work draws together stereotypical graphic representations of American Indians with patriot prints of American's early democracy. Her collages of commercially produced prints talk not just about how some systematized representations are incorrect but also how their historical inaccuracies can expose the cracks in the media's construction of many non-western cultures.

Growing up a non-Mormon in Utah, teaching at an American Indian reservation, and marrying into a Moroccan family have given her many experiences as outsider. Being a foreigner in her own home has become a theme that stretches not just across her life but also her recent work. In this work she gathers photos, writing, and objects of these experiences and brings them together into new constructions of that narrative.

Erin Chlaghmo's lecture is Monday, March 29th at 12:10 in Sharp 903 at 37 S. Wabash St., Chicago, IL. If you miss her lecture be sure to check out her blog to see her latest work.

Next week's lecturer will be me! (Tuesday 4/6). David R. Harper will serve as a guest blogger to discuss my work.