Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora  (CALL FOR ENTRY)

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Note: this prospectus was updated on 07/15/15. Please review red text in pdf version for changes.

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Exhibition Summary

Textile Museum, Washington D.C. from April 16 through September 4, 2016

Housed in the new George Washington University Museum, The Textile Museum is hosting a juried exhibition in collaboration with SAQA.  All works will reflect upon the theme of “Diaspora.”  In addition to presenting the pieces selected by jurors, the exhibition will feature social, cultural and historical commentary by faculty members of GW’s acclaimed program in Diaspora Studies. 


The Theme of Diaspora:

Diaspora is the dispersion of a people from an established ancestral homeland.  These communities remain simultaneously active in social, economic, cultural, or political processes in their country of origin and with compatriots worldwide. Although the word was first used to describe the Jewish Diaspora, it was widely adopted to include the African Diaspora resulting from the Slave Trade.  But displacement of people has occurred from ancient to modern times.  Communities include: Afghans, Albanians, Basques, Chinese, Cubans, Hindus, Irish, Japanese, Kashmiri, Koreans, Kurds, Nepalese, Palestinians, Romani, Tibetans, Tamils and Vietnamese just to name a few; as well as people fleeing from genocide in Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, Iraq, Syria; and the indigenous people of North and South America.

Diasporas may come about to escape natural disaster, economic hardship, violence, oppression, or even genocide and the movement of large groups of people has both positive and negative consequences. A migration of peoples from their ancestral homeland impacts every aspect of their life.  The sudden displacement of large populations and the ensuing establishment of resettlement centers to provide basic human needs — food, clothing, shelter, health services, and safety (particularly that of women and children) -- often requires a worldwide response.

The economic climates of some regions can create Diaspora that involve migrant workers who leave their home looking for work elsewhere while maintaining emotional connections with their country of origin. Some may even consider those evacuated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to have been part of a Diaspora.  The voluntary migration of African Americans from the southern to the northern United States in the 20th century, as well as the forced removal of indigenous people from Native American homelands to unfamiliar territory in the 19th century, can also be interpreted as a Diaspora.

Exhibition Concept:

The Textile Museum, part of the new George Washington University Museum, is located in the center of GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus. New galleries provide museum-quality climate controls, security, and lighting for the display of art.  There is also a two-story gallery for the display of large pieces.

The exhibition will draw on the expertise of the university’s Diaspora studies program faculty to present the interpretive context for this exhibition. They will provide written commentary, wall text, and subject matter programing.

The Textile Museum will invite between five and seven internationally recognized fiber artists (as yet to be selected) to participate in Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora.  The remainder of the artworks in the exhibition will be selected in a juried competition and open to SAQA members worldwide.  Artists may take as inspiration any aspect of Diaspora at any point in human history. 

Work must be original, and can include dimensional work, freestanding work, pieces that hang from the ceiling, installation work, sculptural work and video. Work need not be limited to fiber, although it must still maintain the SAQA definition of an art quilt: The art quilt is a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.

The number of pieces chosen will tell the Diaspora story in an appealing way that showcases the artworks and encourages the viewer to think deeply and carefully on this timely subject.  The new Textile Museum space is expansive and should accommodate a generous number of artworks.  As the jurors will be looking for large works, it is not possible to determine the final number of artworks which will be shown in the exhibition because the sizes of the pieces are unknown at this time (and will determine the final number), however it is estimated that 30 or more pieces will be selected.

Accepted artists will be responsible for shipping (and insuring) their work to The Textile Museum in Washington, DC (USA).  The Textile Museum will return work to the artists at the Museum’s  expense at the close of the exhibition.  This is a one venue opportunity and the exhibition will not travel.

The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum along with the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection is a new museum complex on the university’s Foggy Bottom campus that is dedicated to fostering the study and appreciation of art, history, and culture. Through exhibitions, programs, and academic courses, the museum complex will integrate with diverse disciples to enrich research, education, and cultural understanding within the university and the global community. This exhibition is an important example of the links for exchange and collaborations throughout the world which the museum will create.


Lee Talbot
Lee Talbot is Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Collections at The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., where he specializes in East Asian textile history.  Before joining The Textile Museum staff, he spent two and a half years as curator at the Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul, Korea. His recent exhibitions include Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep (2012), Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop (2012), Green: the Color and the Cause (2011) and Second Lives: The Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles (2011).  Publications include chapters on China and Korea in History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000 (Bard Graduate Center/Yale University Press, 2013), Threads of Heaven: Textiles in East Asian Ritual and Ceremony (Sookmyung Women's University Press, 2006), and articles on various aspects of decorative art and design history.

Rebecca Stevens
Rebecca A. T. Stevens is Consulting Curator, Contemporary Textiles at The Textile Museum, a position she has held for more than three decades. She specializes in all aspects of fiber art, organizing exhibitions, writing catalogue essays and articles.  She has served as a juror for national and international exhibitions and presented lectures on contemporary fiber art on five continents. She co-curated the exhibition Green: the Color and the Cause with Lee Talbot and looks forward to working with him again on the Diaspora project. She brought two Quilt National exhibitions to The Textile Museum, served as a juror for two other Quilt Nationals, and as a juror for other important quilt exhibitions, including Visions in California.  She is a former SAQA Board member.

SAQA Administrator: Patty Kennedy-Zafred 

Please contact Patricia at with any questions regarding this prospectus.


Eligibility and Guidelines:

  1. Artist must be a SAQA member to enter.
  2. Consideration is by digital images only (directions below).
  3. Artist may submit up to three works. A work consisting of more than one piece (e.g., a triptych) must be submitted as one entry.  If a multi-part work (e.g., a triptych) is entered, the separate pieces that are parts of that work (e.g., the individual panels of a triptych) may not be entered individually.   
  4. Collaboration is permitted, provided that (a) each person collaborating is a SAQA member; (b) the collaborative piece is entered as a separate work under the names of all collaborating artists; (c) the entry fee is paid for the collaborative work (this is in addition to any entry fees paid by the artists entering individually); and (d) the collaborative work is counted as one of the three works each artist is permitted to enter. For example: 
    • SAQA member X and SAQA member Y collaborate on an artwork.  The artwork must be entered under the names of X and Y together.  One entry fee is charged for this entry. 
    • If either artist wishes to enter additional artwork individually, then X may enter two additional pieces, and Y may enter two additional pieces.  X must pay an entry fee for entering his/her additional work, and Y must also pay an entry fee for entering his/her additional work.
  5. Artwork must meet the SAQA definition of an art quilt: The art quilt is a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.
  6. Artists are responsible for shipping and insurance to The Textile Museum in Washington, DC (USA). Museum will cover the cost of returning pieces to the artists.
  7. The America Association of Museums does not allow the sale of artwork from exhibitions at The Textile Museum.  However, the museum staff will be happy to provide artist's contact information to any visitor who is interested in being in touch with the artists.  Artwork sold as a result of the exhibition will be subject to a 25% commission to SAQA.
  8. There is no size restriction on pieces; however the jurors have expressed an interest in large; free-standing; dimensional; and even works of video for this exhibition--as well as wall hung pieces.
  9. Installation information:  The artist must supply and ship all installation materials with the exception of screws, nails, and ordinary hanging wires. For wall hung work, a hanging sleeve appropriate for the slat, rod, or other hanging device provided by the artist will be necessary. For 3D/installation/freestanding work, the artist must supply all mounting devices and support structures needed to install their work.  For ceiling hung work, the artist must supply an appropriate slat, rod, or other hanging device that can be attached to the ceiling.
    • All installation and mounting materials must be labeled with the artist’s name, title of the work, and any other identifying information the artist deems useful.  All identified installation materials sent to the Museum will be returned at the end of the exhibit with the artwork.
    • The Museum can provide flat screens for display of video work.
    • If accepted artists have specific questions before shipping the piece, the Museum will address questions on an individual basis.
  10. Work MUST be available for the full run of the exhibition and arrive at The Textile Museum ready to install.  It is the policy of SAQA that once work is accepted, it cannot be withdrawn for any reason.
  11. By submitting your work for review, you confirm that you will adhere to all of the above.

November 1, 2014  Announce call for entries
October 1, 2015   Online entry open
October 31, 2015   Online Entry Deadline at 11:59 pm EDT
November 30, 2015 Notification of acceptance   (All notifications will be sent by email)
December 10, 2015  High resolution images sent to Deidre Adams for inclusion in catalog (details given upon acceptance)
The week of February 6, 2016  Artwork to be RECEIVED by Textile Museum (details to be given upon acceptance)
September 2016   Return of work to Artists


Checklist of what you will need to provide:

Artist Information: (the name you list is the name by which your work will be exhibited; spelling and capitalization will be reproduced in the same way that you enter them).

About the Artist:
Artist’s First Name:
Artist’s Last Name:
Address (street):
City/State/Zip or Postal Code/Country:
Phone (include country code):

Information about each piece:
Artist statement: (not to exceed 150 words)
Size: height x width x depth in inches
Note: for installations, measurements should be based on the layout shown in the overall image submitted with the entry.  See below concerning Digital Images.
Materials: (25 words or less)
Techniques: (25 words or less)
Photo Credit: (if not taken by you the artist)

Please follow the requirements in the call for entry carefully. The requirements are specific to each show depending on the size of the venue and the particulars of the chosen theme.  If your submission doesn't fit the parameters, it will not be accepted to the exhibition.

Digital Images:
For each entry, submit one overall DIGITAL image and at least one, but not more than two, detail DIGITAL images.  For installations, the overall image should show the artwork in its suggested installation.  The Museum will work with accepted installation artists to display each piece to its best advantage given the configuration of the entire exhibition.


Special Note: 
We encourage you to upload the best photos you can.  Remember that the images you send are the only representations of your work the juror will see when considering your entry.   It is strongly recommended that you have professional shots taken of your work.  Photos should be in sharp focus, showing all side of the art quilt, well lit, with correct color and no distortions. Furthermore, if you are selected for the exhibition, your submission photos will be used for the exhibition catalog. Therefore, your images need to be of the highest possible quality. For more information, see Submitting photos to SAQA publications

You will be asked to agree with these Terms and Conditions:

I agree to loan my artwork to Studio Art Quit Associates, Inc. I understand that the costs of insuring and shipping my artwork to The Textile Museum in Washington, DC (USA) are my responsibility.  I further agree to permit the images or detail images and/or all of part of my artist statement to be used in the exhibition catalog, articles, ads, promotions, books, websites, blogs, CDs, current event news coverage, television productions, and/or multi-media productions for and about the exhibit or for and about this exhibition.

Fee: $40  Members must pay their fee using a credit card (MC, Visa or Amex) through the SAQA Store.  Fee must be paid before entry deadline listed above.

Reminder: for collaborative work, the entry must be made in the name of all participating artists.  Please review 4 under Eligibility and Guidelines above.


Hussein Chalayan –
Shin-hee Chin –
Aino Kajaniemi –
Faith Ringgold –
Consuelo Jimenez Underwood –
William Adjete Wilson –