Roots and Wings

Roots and Wings is a space where people can anonymously share their immigration stories. Schools, community centers or galleries can apply to have this traveling art show installed at their site. The stories written by visitors are collected and displayed as part of the installation. As the Roots and Wings show travels, stories continue to be collected anonymously and archived on the website. So far, Roots and Wings has been installed at two different locations. We hope to have the show visit many more communities!


Our ancestors came from every corner of the Earth. They are our roots, our bones and our wings.

We resist the notion of a homogeneous ideal. Diversity, migration and change are our strength and beauty.

Our installation honors generations of immigrants and their relationship to the land they made their home. The Batik scarves carry quotes from our friends and family. The charcoal portraits are informed by these personal and ancestral stories, creating a dream-like atmosphere.

What stories do you wear or carry with you?


Quote Collection:

Artists Emma Brown and Mara Lea Brown started this project by collecting quotes from family and friends. Twenty two quotes were made into Batik scarves for the installation.

Batik Scarves:

Emma uses a brush to write the quotes and decorate each scarf with a unique design using hot wax. After adding natural dyes to the cotton, the wax is removed with boiling water and a hot iron. Once the scarves dry, their edges are sewn by hand.


Mara uses the quotes collected for Roots and Wings as inspiration for her charcoal portraits. The drawings and other elements included in each installation are site specific.


Emma and Mara work with each community during the installation of Roots and Wings, taking into account any site specific needs. The number of scarves, drawings and any additional visual elements vary from site to site.

Грант предоставил Oakland, CA (March 2018)