Juna Rosales Muller: Mending Patriotism

 at 516 ARTS

Mending Patriotism took the form of an old-fashioned sewing bee, in which participants sewed a quilt made from clothing cast off by migrants crossing Mexico’s Sonoran desert towards the U.S. border. This project provides a space for learning and exchange around issues of border-crossing, human migration, and national identity. Quilts have historically been used to signify safe houses, most notably on the Underground Railroad (or so the story goes). In our modern day how do people seeking refuge identify allies? In what ways can we as individuals participate in nation-wide concerns? What is our collective vision of the future of patriotism and national identity? On display will also be Juna Rosales Muller’s solo and collaborative quilts made from migrants’ discarded clothes.

In preparation for At Home in the World, participants gathered to contribute to an original quilt using clothes left behind by migrants crossing the US-Mexico border.  Working on a large-scale quilt pieced together from this material, participants mended the holes in the clothing using the technique of darning. This provided symbolic mending to the warmth and cohesion the quilt is able to provide. At once, it taught the traditional craft of darning, which is applicable to our lives outside the gallery space. Participants engaged in dialogue and reflection around questions of identity, inclusion, alliance, and re-use.

The workshop was conducted in an open-studio format, where visitors can participate during studio hours. 

Juna Rosales Muller is a fabric artist, printmaker, outdoor educator, and agricultural worker. She has became engaged in creating socially engaged art through leading border education trips for high school students. In her work with clothing cast-off by migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, she explores themes of inclusion, identity, nationalism, and community. These themes are expanded through collaborative workshops in the tradition of American quilting bees, where dialogue and storytelling play a key role. She has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon, as well as in Packard Hall in Colorado Springs, Colorado and at City Hall and the Ojai Valley Museum in Ojai, California. With a focus in Political Ecology, Juna received a B.A. in Southwest Studies and took numerous art courses at Colorado College, where she had the opportunity to do extensive field work. She currently a practices art, educates kids about their local watershed, and works in the citrus industry in her hometown of Ojai, California.