25 Million Stitches: One Stitch, One Refugee amasses 25 million stitches—portraying the number of refugees displaced from their homelands across the world—on 14-foot-long muslin embroidered flags filling 4,000 square feet of exhibition space at Coconino Center for the Arts. The project was launched by artist Jennifer Kim Sohn as a global, participatory art project to address the vast crisis of worldwide displacement. The concept was simple: one stitch of embroidery for each refugee. The project provides a beautifully resonant expression of art activism that raises awareness of the immense scope of people forcibly displaced from their homelands by violence and natural disasters. Since the medium involved basic stitching, the project was able to attract a very diverse group of participants from 36 countries and from every state in the United States. The culmination of this global community effort resulted in a grand tapestry rich with images, symbols, and messages of solidarity, hope, and community, all of which give the viewer a textural way to process and experience the enormity of 25 million people, the number the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) estimated were refugees when the project commenced in May of 2019. By comparison, the most recent estimate in June 2022 has grown to 27 million refugees worldwide.
A robust schedule of corresponding humanities programming includes performances, artist workshops, presentations, and panel discussions on the refugee experience.