My work focuses on self-identity as shaped by community. I explore this idea by borrowing from the tradition of crafts.
I focus primarily on quilts because of their connotations of home and of individuals coming together, e.g. quilting bees or the national AIDS quilt. My hand-sewn quilts are made of paper, a medium I choose for its simultaneous fragility and strength. The quilts incorporate handwriting of people from my past and present—old letters and requested writing samples. Sewn together, they represent communities to which I belong. I also use old passport pages and photographs. For me, quilting is a form of collaged self-portraiture, a metaphor for many experiences sewn into a single multi-faceted identity.
As a child, I moved from country to country every few years before settling in New York as an adult. Much of my artwork is a personal celebration of these last ten years in which I am finally able to surround myself with a stable community. As an artist using the framework of crafts, I find a form of expression that is tied to place and culture, and has the sense of connection that comes from being passed down from generation to generation. Within this sturdy structure, I look for my own individual expression by weaving in some essence of my own community. I draw fellow individuals into my art through their participation and their mark-making. After all, our identities are shaped by those around us.
Artist Bio / CV
Colleen Kong-Savage, born 1973 in Hawaii, grew up in various parts of the world: Zambia, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia. She earned a BA at Smith College, then an MFA in Fiction Writing at Columbia University. Her artwork has been shown in various New York establishments, including the Edward Hopper House, Joyce Soho, and the National Arts Club. She has designed several murals for public elementary schools.