BACK Quilt Exhibition Memorializes the Stories of Migrants Who Died Seeking Refuge in the United States

“Los Desconocidos: The Migrant Quilt Project” opens January 20, 2022 at the Arizona History Museum in Tucson, Arizona


Founded in Tucson in the mid-2000s, The Migrant Quilt Project memorializes the stories of migrants who died seeking refuge in the United States. It is a collaborative effort between artists, quiltmakers, and activists to document the names and number of lives lost each year in the deserts of the borderlands. The quilts are created to encourage compassion and inspire support for humane changes in border policies.

Vanessa Fajardo, Museum Curator with the Arizona Historical Society, shared, “The Arizona Historical Society is proud to present The Migrant Quilt Project exhibition to the public. The quilts are beautiful yet poignant representations of a very difficult subject.”

The exhibition features all twenty completed quilts in the collection, along with quiltmakers’ statements about their experience with the project. Each quilt carries the names of those who have been identified or simply states “desconocido” or “unknown” for those who have not. Additional artifacts and artwork help tell the story.

Migrant Quilt Project Founder Jody Ipsen shared, “In 2007, inspired by the AIDS quilts, I realized the power of storytelling that quilts behold. I believed that The Migrant Quilt Project, a social justice and subversive quilt-making collection, held similar stories of loss and suffering. And, with Peggy Hazard’s incredible curation with the project, we believe these quilts tell powerful stories to be told to future generations.”

The Arizona History Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at 949 E. 2nd St. in Tucson. Free validated parking is available at the Main Gate Garage, one block from the museum (815 E. 2nd St.).
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949 E. 2nd St.
Tucson, AZ 85719

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