Museum of International Folk Art

MOIFA Presents Sewing Stories of Displacement

February 13, 2020


(Santa Fe, New Mexico) —The Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) presents Sewing Stories of Displacement, opening February 16, 2020, and running until September 27, 2020. This exhibition is guest curated by Dr. Martha Manier, a Research Associate at MOIFA and author of Sewing Their Stories, Telling Their Lives: Embroidered Narratives from Chile to the World Stage (1969-2016), published by Humboldt State University Press, 2019.

Sewing Stories of Displacement serves as a companion to MOIFA’s recently opened From Combat to Carpet: The Art of Afghan War Rugs, expanding upon its theme of creative survival in the face of conflict. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, moments of violence, political upheaval, and natural disaster have led to the displacement of entire communities. Since the 1960s, displaced people throughout the world — women, men, and children — have embroidered and appliquéd the stories of their forced migrations, new transitions, and memories of more stable lives. Through these innovative textiles, they have been able to document their experiences, share their perspectives, and often, supplement their income during desperate times.

The pictorial textiles in this exhibition represent a diversity of artistic traditions, historical events, and individual narratives from communities in Chile, Guatemala, Peru, South Africa, Vietnam, and Pakistan. Together, they illustrate the potential for textiles to serve storytelling. “Taken from reality, memory, observation, and invention,” Martha Manier explains, “these stories are larger than life but life itself.”

Opening Date: February 16, 2020. 

Location: Museum of International Folk Art, 706 Camino Lejo, on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, N.M.

Admissions Info:


About the Museum of International Folk Art

The Museum of International Folk Art is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, through the generous support of donors.

Founded in 1953 by Florence Dibell Bartlett, the Museum of International Folk Art’s mission is to shape a humane world by connecting people through creative expression and artistic traditions. The museum holds the world’s largest international folk art collection of more than 150,000 objects from six continents and over 150 nations, representing a broad range of global artists whose artistic expressions make Santa Fe an international crossroads of culture. For many visitors, fascination with folk art begins upon seeing the whimsical toys and traditional objects within the Girard Collection. For others, the international textiles, ceramics, carvings and other cultural treasures in the Neutrogena Collection provide the allure.  The museum’s historic and contemporary Latino and Hispano folk art collections, spanning the Spanish Colonial period to modern-day New Mexico, reflect how artists respond to their time and place in ways both delightful and sobering. In 2010, the museum opened the Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience, where exhibitions encourage visitors to exchange ideas on complex issues of human rights and social justice.

706 Camino Lejo, on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, NM 87505. (505) 476-1200. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Events, news releases and images about activities at the Museum of International Folk Art and other divisions in the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at

Related Photos

Detention Center (arpillera), ca. 1978
Lanzamiento [Eviction] (arpillera), ca. 1976
The Train Station (gabba), 1979
El barco hundiéndose en alta mar [Boat Sinking on the High Seas] (bordado), 1975

Back to Press Release List »