2022 Awardee-Zajren Aina Paguergan

Zajren Aina Paguergan
kamayan, 2021
16 in x 28 in
Cotton warp, mixed fibers for weft

Zajren Aina Paguergan is the 2022 International Student Awardee. Below is her artist statement and biography. Zajren is a student at the Alberta University of the Arts in Alberta, Canada. Congratulations, Zajren!

Artist Statement

I explore my Filipino heritage through imagery depicting traditional Filipino foods. I find that the medium of tapestry allows me to explore the opportunity to immortalize or archive the image of temporary food. Cultural dishes are of significant importance to people who have moved away from their home country. In my work “lechon head”, I begin to explore the imagery and ornament of a roasted pig, which is eaten during special occasions in the Philippines, and in many other cultures. I continuously develop my fascination with the community of eating through my next work “kamayan”. This work depicts a large communal feast that I found I missed after spending the year in self-isolation. “Lechon baboy” is my most recent work which celebrates the community by preparing and sharing a whole roasted pig. I wanted to work with a shaped tapestry, as I found myself quite bored of my previous weavings. In utilizing the shaped tapestry technique, I’ve evoked a more guttural response, which I found I would not have achieved if this tapestry were rectangular. I found that the process of weaving is much like the preparations of food; there is love and labor, and a joy to be found in sharing with others.

Zajren Aina Paguergan
lechon head, 2020
10.5 in x 10.5 in
Cotton warp, mixed fibers for weft


I have always been making and creating some form of textile art since I was young, but I became fascinated with tapestry weaving during my time in post-secondary. Within my artistic practice, I explore my identity as a Filipino-Canadian, and my upbringing in a distinctly first-generation, immigrant community. Recently I’ve been considering the role that food has in conveying cultural values, specifically the way in which food is an easy gateway to learning about a new culture. I’m interested in dismantling the way that tapestries are displayed; my work sits on a dining room table, open to touch and interaction. I’m curious about how people interact with my work, and how I may make work that challenges viewers to touch, collaborate, and learn about the subject matter.

Zajren Aina Paguergan
lechon baboy 2022
40 in x 14 in
Shaped tapestry using cotton warp, mixed fibers for weft