Quilt by Ly Sieng Ngo

Relationship: Im/migrant
Quilt by Ly Sieng Ngo, Wing Luke Museum Collection

"When I was sponsored by the American Embassy, for some reason I said to myself, if I have a chance to help others, I want to help this woman (who had severe arthritis). She couldn’t walk very well. These young men made a hammock to carry her to walk from Cambodia to Thailand. And it was very eye-opening for me to see people support their family member in a situation like that. When they called my name, and said, 'how many in your party?' I just made up a number and said 10. It was just my cousin and me, but I said 10 because I wanted to include that family. So somehow, we made up a family even though we are not related by blood at all. She was my mother and her children were my brothers and sisters, all that. So, then I swore under oath that they are my family. But two years later, when my real sister came, and told our real mother’s name… Here I became a liar to American Immigration. They punished my sister; as of today, because I sponsored that family, my sister cannot come to the US. She can come to visit but not to stay."  Ly Sieng Ngo was born in Cambodia, and lost all her family members during the Pol Pot’s regime. After arriving in the U.S., she suffered the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She had previously studied fashion design, and was able to find solace and healing through quilting. Her full story can be found on the website Charter for Compassion, “Ly Sieng Ngo: Quilting Peace,” https://charterforcompassion.org/ly-sieng-ngo-quilting-peace.

Place(s): Cambodia, Thailand, Seattle
Year: 1979

– Ly Sieng Ngo

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant