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Binding Us Together: Quilts of the African Diaspora: Exhibition Catalogs

The purpose of this guide is to highlight resources related to quilting in the United States, on the African continent, and throughout the African Diaspora. Guide by Tracy Crawford.

Exhibition Catalogs

Collection Highlights

Book cover of And still we rise : race, culture, and visual conversations.

And Still We Rise

Contemporary quilt artists trace the path of black history in the United States with 97 original works exploring important events, places, people, and ideas over 400 years. Arranged in chronological order, quilt themes include the first enslaved people brought over by Dutch traders in 1619, the brave souls marching for civil rights, the ascendant influence of African American culture on the American cultural landscape, and the election of the first African American president. Other quilts commemorate and celebrate cultural milestones and memories, such as the first African American teacher, the Buffalo Soldier, the first black man to play Othello on Broadway, Muhammed Ali, and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The 69 artists who contributed works for this curated collection provide narrative explaining the important stories and histories behind the quilts.

Book cover of Faith Ringgold :

Ten adults--men and women, black and white--fight, flee or die over the twelve-foot span of American People Series #20: Die, as an interracial pair of children cowers unnoticed in their midst. While Faith Ringgold (born 1930) was devising this bloody spectacle in a Manhattan studio in the summer of 1967, civil unrest was convulsing black neighborhoods across the US. Art historian Anne Monahan's essay explores the mural's carefully orchestrated chaos and its multiform inspirations, from contemporary anxiety about black revolution, through the writings of James Baldwin and LeRoi Jones, to iconic canvases by Picasso and Pollock then on view at MoMA.

Book cover of Gee's Bend: the women and their quilts.

Since the 19th century, the women of Gee's Bend in southern Alabama have created stunning, vibrant quilts. Beautifully illustrated with 350 color illustrations, 30 black-and-white illustrations, and charts, Gee's Bend to Rehoboth is being#65533;released in conjunction with a national exhibition tour including The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Book cover of Just how I picture it in my mind : contemporary African American quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

Just How I Picture It in My Mind

In 2004, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts acquired a significant collection of contemporary African American quilts from Kempf Hogan of Birmingham, Michigan. The collection, consisting of forty-eight quilts dating from 1945 to 2001, was assembled by Hogan over a period of seventeen years with the guidance and expertise of Dr. Robert Cargo, of Robert Cargo Folk Art Gallery, formerly of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, now located in Paoli, Pennsylvania. The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is indebted to both men for their combined interest in assembling a first-rate Southern quilt collection and, subsequently, in expanding the already impressive Southern folk art holdings of the MMFA. The quilt collection encompasses the work of a diverse group of African American quilters working in Alabama and its environs during the last half century, such as Mozell Benson, Nora Ezell, and Yvonne Wells. The designs of these textiles range from the traditional to the most contemporary forms of expression and represent everything from patterns of stars, blocks, and strips, to stories of Jackie Robinson and the Bible, to picture quilts of the American flag and animals. Book jacket.

Book cover of Quilts and human rights

Quilts and Human Rights

Quilts and Human Rights offers a new understanding of the history of global human rights as seen through textiles of awareness and activism. Of all the textile forms linked to human rights activities, one form--the quilt--has proved an especially potent and popular form for individuals, working alone or as part of organized groups, to subversively or overtly act for human rights. Through a description of this activity over time and space, Quilts and Human Rights advances awareness of critical human rights issues: suffrage, race relations, civil wars, natural disasters, HIV/AIDs, and ethnic, sexual, and gender discrimination. Quilts and Human Rights pays tribute to the individuals who have used needle skills to prick the conscience and encourage action against human rights violations.    

"Multi-Colored Block Quilt"

Picture of Multi-Colored Block Quilt, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Artist: Ira Blount

Multi-Colored Block Quilt
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
Artist: Ira Blount
Gift of Ira Blount

"And Still We Rise: The Artists Behind the Quilts"

"New Threads: An American Quilt Story"

"Ubuntutu Quilt Exhibition"

"Soulful Stitching"