NYU exhibition depicts creation of tapestry now etched into the steel tribute

Swiss immigrant seamstress of early 20th century in US
A volunteer brought a photo of her seamstress grandmother, Swedish immigrant from the era of the fire.

A permanent memorial to the workers who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 was recently erected at the site of the industrial tragedy located near New York City’s Washington Square. The blaze and neglect killed 146 workers, mainly young immigrant women of Italian and Jewish descent.

Through March 29, “Collective Ribbon: The Interwoven Voices of the Triangle Fire Memorial,” a new exhibition at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at New York University, tells the story of a unique participatory process closely connected to the design of the memorial. In this process, a community of volunteers, from all walks of life, came together and sewed a long ribbon made of hundreds of pieces of fabric.

Gathered across long rows of sewing tables, the participants created a tapestry of personal fragments, stories, and memories of the 1911 tragedy.  The texture of this collective ribbon is now etched into the steel of the permanent memorial (at the 10-story Brown Building on Washington Place).

Free and open to the public, the exhibition is presented by NYU Casa Italiani Zerrili-Marimò, and Remember the Triangle Coalition, which commissioned the memorial. The memorial’s codesigners, Uri Wegman and Richard Joon Yoo, are the curators of this multi-faceted exhibition at NYU’s Casa Italiana (24 West 12th Street, New York, N.Y.), on view from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

For more information, interviews, or press materials, please call Chiara Basso of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU at 212.998.8739.

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Robert Polner
Robert Polner
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