Chloe Bensahel blends design thinking, first-person research, traditional craft and multimedia to create large-scale installations highlighting immigrant narratives from past and present and investigating how storytelling and material traditions create a collective culture.

Born into a Jewish-Moroccan family in France and later a French immigrant in the U.S., Bensahel’s work is inseparable from her own cultural narrative. Trained in textiles at the Parsons School of Design, Bensahel’s work blends traditional material techniques from various continents into a language, with every stitch and thread acting as text. Impacted by her own experience of being culturally mixed, Bensahel observes the historical and contextual stories linked to materials, and builds them into layers of meaning imperceptible to the naked eye. More recently, Bensahel has worked in the Bay Area, exploring the impact of technology on relationship to place, using data on immigration as a bridge between the physical and the digital.

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Description of Artwork: “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do” (detail). 2015-16, Deconstructed men’s shirt stripped and woven with cotton, silk embroidery, 8 x 8.5 inches each. A piece that, through appropriation, speaks to standardization and textile uniform as the effacement of the individual and of culture. The stitch is a cross-stitch and each piece is woven on a traditional frame loom.