Patterns for Diaspora

This exhibition is held at Roman Susan in April 2022.

Vector files are available for download and use at

Printed fabric is available for purchase at Spoonflower.

Patterns for Diaspora is an exploration of adornment, ornamentation, and the meaning found within repeatable patterns. This work is a kind of post-minimalist celebration of embellishments. As minimalist art tends to remove all traces of decoration in search of some formal purity, I want to take the opposite approach and work with patterns as elemental designs, complete in and of themselves.

I’m interested in exploring the way particular geometric arrangements can become emblematic of a given people or place. Scottish tartans, for example, can signify membership in a specific family, and various emblems often relate to distinct cultures. What does this mean today for people who have histories full of displacement, mobility, and change? I want to create new patterns specifically for members of diasporic communities, designs that are not linked to any given physical location but rather symbolic of complex layers of identity.

Modernist Adolf Loos famously compared ornamentation to crime in his 1908 essay on the topic. His perspective is thinly-veiled racism, an attempt to describe an ideal expression that removes all traces of marginal cultures. My project is an effort to defy this position by embracing the ornamental and creating forms that are not universal but imbued with the spirit of anyone who is a member of a diaspora.