Storytelling in Cloth and Light begins its open run in September 2022. The exhibition displays textiles (all taken from NHM’s expansive collection of more than 10,000 Greek American artifacts) meticulously woven in Greece, largely by women, and brought across the ocean to the United States. Accompanying this brilliant needle work are photographs taken by Chicago-based Greek American Diane Alexander White during her 1977 trip to Greece.
Storytelling is a fundamental human activity, so much so that some have suggested that our species might properly be called Homo narrans: Human, the Storyteller. Stories are how we preserve the past and connect to one another. We come to know people fundamentally by hearing their stories.
Greek culture is storytelling culture. From the ancient bards who sang of the exploits of gods and heroes in the courts of Bronze Age kings to the dinner tables of modern Greek American families today, when Greeks gather, they tell stories. The binding power of stories has long had a special significance to Greeks, who so often exist between two places. Between the past and present. Between Greece and America.
This exhibition is a tribute to this rich and abiding tradition, to the stories we tell and the ones we leave untold. This is about how we remember who we are now and where we came from.