Why Quilt? Because You Can’t Read Or Write…

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A timeline of African American history, told through quilts

The Loving Quilt (2012), Barbara McCraw (US) (Reprinted from The Art Newspaper).

 

NEWS & UPDATES FOR  Cartographer’s Conundrum Revisited – Sanford Biggers Was Right  (2015)

3/6/2016    Can anyone of us imagine that there was a time when some people were deliberately kept illiterate? Yes, the slaves. And so they communicated by quilts – plus music, dance… and became experts in subtle body communications. And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations  (1/16 – 4/24/2016) is a quilt show in the Bruce Museum in Connecticut that:

“…narrates nearly four centuries of African American history, from the first slave ships to the first African American president and beyond. Through 40 quilts from artists of the Women of Color Quilters Network, the exhibition reveals the stories of freedom’s heroes, ranging from Phillis Wheatley to Frederick Douglass to the Tuskegee Airmen.”

“Story of quilting expands on traditional textile-arts techniques to record, in fabric, events of personal or historical significance. Through the accessibility of their colors, patterns and symbols, the quilts of “And Still We Rise” relate narratives that enable conversations about sensitive topics from our national history, furthering the discussion of racial reconciliation in America.”

Traditionally a craft, and often associated with women, quilting here becomes an art form in not just recording history, but also expressing emotions and feelings – and ultimately confers meaning to the story of our culture.

And that’s why the Quilting Party (1980) mural  by John T. Biggers was the center story of Sanford Biggers’ Cartographer’s Conundrum (2/4 – 10/31/2012) at MassMoCA  in North Adams, Massachusetts (Link here).

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