Often using needle and thread, Aram Han Sifuentes (b. 1986) examines immigration, citizenship, race, and craft, drawing on both personal experiences and shared cultural identities. Her work We Are Never Never Other—a banner of monumental scale installed on the facade of the museum building—references the visual vocabulary of the protest banners in her lending library, presented at the Pulitzer this summer. In We Are Never Never Other, Sifuentes has transformed a quote from social theorist Avery Gordon, who writes, “Complex personhood means that even those called ‘Other’ are never never that.” The artist aligns her work with the notion of “complex personhood,” which describes how individual identities are shaped by complicated and layered conditions and histories. Using “We” to represent the voice of the disenfranchised, Sifuentes both calls attention to and stands in defiance of the act of “othering,” or alienating, one another.
We Are Never Never Other was commissioned as a part of the artist’s residency at the Pulitzer, where Sifuentes has presented her Protest Banner Lending Library and led numerous community workshops to create handmade banners. This banner reflects the voice of the artist as well as individuals who have participated in the lending library since the project began in 2016. Follow along at #protestbannerlendinglibrary