Kira Dominguez Hultgren

I came to the Basque BioDesign Center to experiment with weaving biomaterials on a digital jacquard loom. I am doing research on the kinds of yarns that can be created from kombucha cultures, algae, wood cellulose gum composites, and Latxa sheep wool byproducts


I connect this new project to what I have long been doing in my work: thinking about cultural composites and byproducts. How do cultures exist together? What happens between generations as cultures both work together and refuse to adapt to composite environments? I hope this summer to connect both a social and environmental conversation in the pieces I’m weaving to think about alternative ways of belonging and togethering.

Kira Dominguez Hultgren is a U.S.-based artist, weaver, and educator. She studied postcolonial theory and literature at Princeton University, and studio arts and visual and critical studies at California College of the Arts. 

Their research interests include material and embodied rhetorics, re-storying material culture, and weaving as a performative critique of the visual. Dominguez Hultgren weaves with the material afterlife of a so-called multiracial family: Chicanx-Indigenous-Indian-Hollywood Hawaiian-Brown-Black. Instead of being passed down, weaving and textile processes are brought up, resurrected from family stories and fabrics. Dominguez Hultgren builds looms to weave into the frayed edges of lost language, culture, traditions, and lives that were deliberately cut-off in past generations. 


Her looms – whether digital jacquard, backstrap, floor, post – materialize this present absence often as largescale checkboxes and X-marks. Questions about cultural appropriation and codeswitching, exoticism, and performing cultural misrecognitions occupy their practice. 


Dominguez Hultgren has exhibited her work broadly including shows at the de Young Museum, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, the San Jose Museum of Quilt and Textile, and Eleanor Harwood Gallery. Their work has received critical attention including reviews in the New York Times and Architectural Digest. Dominguez Hultgren is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.