It never occurred to the master that slaves cleverly encoded signs and symbols of memories of the homeland into these utilitarian objects. Embedded in the quilts were pieced and stripped ancestral textile legacies, reinterpreted… The western standards of reading and writing were forbidden to be taught to the first Africans in America. Undaunted in the will and spirit to survive, these women began to transform traditional mediums to create new visual languages through the medium of fiber. This elevated the quilt to a new level of understanding, critical to the African American experience.
Leslie King-Hammond, Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists
I stopped by this exhibit in Detroit from the Great Lakes African American Quilters’ Network, and immediately thought of the above quote from King-Hammond, dean of the graduate program at MICA in Baltimore. The quilted histories from were stunning, and humbling. It is important to acknowledge this medium as a foundation for contemporary black women artists, especially in America.
Thanks for this Bree!