The Karen Weaver Circle

Artist Statement: The Karen people are an indigenous ethnic group in Burma that have been persecuted for over 70 years. About 17,000 refugees from Burma live in Minnesota, including the largest Karen community in the U.S. Karen people are known for their centuries-old textile weaving tradition that is passed down by women from generation to generation. Karen textiles include intricate, multicolored patterns symbolizing flowers, rivers, mountains, and other features from their homeland, as well as colors signifying cultural values and marital status.

The Karen Weaving Circle will exhibit artwork created by master weavers and students from the summer weaving program at the East Side Freedom Library.  The attached artwork represents a sampling of objects that will be included in our exhibit.  The first three banners were designed and woven by Rosie Say for ESFL’s “Human Proof Fence” exhibit in 2018 on themes of home and displacement.  Other photos show artwork created by students in the summer weaving program.

Artist Bio: The Karen Weaving Circle is a group of refugee women from Burma with a mission to sustain their weaving traditions in Minnesota.  Weavers weave together at the ESFL weekly, teach classes for Karen youth, and display and sell textiles at local events.

Rosie Say was born in Burma. She lived in a refugee camp for 17 years before coming to Minnesota in 2014. Rosie has taught weaving classes, sold textiles, and exhibited artwork at several events. She believes that Karen weaving represents the culture, identity, and story of the Karen people and must be preserved for generations to come..

See these handwoven Karen textiles  and many more at:
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Handwoven Karen textiles will be available for sale at the East Side Freedom Library.

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