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What We Carried: Threads

October 19-December 3

For Portland Textiles Month, Jim Lommasson has assembled works in which participants chose textiles to carry to their new homes in the U.S.

Jim Lommasson’s “What We Carried” photo and writing projects begin with a personal object that the participant carried with them on their long and difficult journey from their homelands to the U.S. Objects include a family photo, a bible, a Quran, a doll, dominoes, a teacup or a serving dish from family celebrations, to the clothes that they were wearing when they fled their homes.

Lommasson asks participants to allow him to photograph those few items that they were able to carry with them to the U.S. He asks the participants to write directly on the photograph about their object and why that particular item was so important that they chose it above everything else. Their stories speak of much more than “the object.” The stories are profound and speak to our common humanity. The luminous inner life of these ordinary things is a testament to the unspeakable anguish of a life left forever behind. Ordinary objects become sacred. The photo and writings become a new artifact.

For PTXM, Lommasson has assembled works in which participants chose textiles to carry to their new homes in the U.S.

PLACE Galeria viewing hours:Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10-5pm.

Viewing by appointment only and please contact at Atsuko.komoto@place.la to confirm your visit.

Photo Caption:
(Red writing around the fabric)

Healing is a constant rocking back and forth     forgive yourself the backward motion    give thanks the courage to inch forward anyway

when the world unravels before you and even your dreams are crumbling stones
when everything you dare to touch is set on fire and all around you is ash and smoke
Remember this:
Rock bottom is a perfect place for rebuilding
Remember that you are your mother’s daughter
your grandmother’s answered prayers
a whole bloodline of women who bend in response, the raging winds
there is nothing broken here
nothing damaged or discarded
each scar is a badge of honor
every misstep is a victory dance waiting to happen
you are a woman becoming
learning the complicate language of forgiveness
The intricate lessons of the universe,
and your heart is just a muscle
it needs exercise
and you were born for this sort of heavy lifting
you were born:
one part saint
one part warrior woman

Jeanette Mmunga
From “I Am My Story – Voices of Hope” (Collaboration with The Immigrant Story)

This Portland TextileX Month sponsored exhibit is made possible in partnership with PLACE and by a grant by the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition.

All in-person events must follow the COVID-19 Guidelines below:

  • Vaccination is required for in-person events. Organizers may request proof of vaccination at their discretion.
  • Please wear a mask at all times, indoors and outdoors.
  • Social distancing is required at both indoor and outdoor venues.
  • If you are feeling sick, please stay home.
  • For more information and on Oregon’s COVID-19 recommendations please refer to CDC guidelines.


October 19 @ 5:00 pm
December 3 @ 5:00 pm
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735 NW 18th Ave,
Portland, OR 97209
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