Garment Girl developed from Jennifer Vanderpool’s immigrant grandmother’s reminiscences about working as a cook in a sweatshop in the Allegheny Mountains and her mother’s stories about sewing shirt collars to pay her college tuition. The exhibition interlaces these matrilineal family stories of struggle with current labor activism, evoking questions about the global textile industry and the unseen garment workers sewing in sweatshops.
The exhibition includes imaginary realism prints, textiles, and workers’ stories as told by Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles sweatshops and women textile laborers in Hanoi, Vietnam. Vanderpool conducted interviews with scholars and activists in both locations, and Garment Girl first opened in May 2018 at Heritage Space in Hanoi.
A native of the Mahoning Valley in Northeast Ohio, Vanderpool is a Los Angeles-based new genre artist who works across mediums to reveal relationships between physical landscapes and the unseen forces that shape them, knitting together narratives about forgotten institutions, people and communities.
Admission is free. Kwan Fong Gallery, located in Soiland Humanities Center, is open to the public 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Visitor parking is located in the lot on Mountclef Boulevard north of Olsen Road. Parking in lots south of Olsen Road is by permit weekdays until 5 p.m. Street parking is by permit Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
An artist walk-through will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12. An artist lecture will be presented at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31, in William Rolland Art Center.