Friday, September 25, 2020

Facts You Didn't Know About Faith Ringgold on Off the Wall Friday

Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, 1991

 I love female artists....all ages...all media.  Shrug...maybe it's because it seems like I can relate to their subject matter. Basically what they think is important is lots of times what I think is important.  The female condition.

That's what originally brought me to Faith Ringgold (age 89).  Not only was she a female artist, but she was one that took her subject matter from causes that were important to her...racism, sexism...segregation.  Every woman, especially every African American woman could look at her work and relate.  

Subway Graffiti #3, 1987

Facts You Didn't Know About Faith Ringgold

1.  Faith started out as an art teacher.  She enrolled City College of New York to major art but

The American Dream, 1964

instead had to major in Art Education because female students were limited to certain majors.  (Stop and let that sink in a minute!!)  While teaching, she was also raising two daughters alone with the help of her mother.

2.  Faith was an activist starting in the 1970's.  She was included in a protest on the Whitney Museum of American Art during an art exhibition that not only didn't include any women but didn't include any African Americans.  She was a member of Women Artists in Revolution and a founding member of the National Black Feminist Organization.  Her activism continued right through to the 1990's.

3.  Faith is not just a quilter.  She started out as a painter letting her trip to Europe first influence her work and later starting letting the plight of an African American woman push her into new series.  In the early 1970's she started experimenting with other media including textiles sculpture and masks.  The masks lead to a natural progression to performance art where she explored African story telling and music. 

4.  Faith is not your average quilter.  She originally made the switch to fabric to better align herself with a traditional African American medium.  Plus her mother, Willi Posey, helped in her quilt construction since she was a popular Harlem clothing designer and seamstress.  Her quilts are painted canvas, cut and stitched into quilts (3 layers) with stories written within them  The written word is very much a part of the quilts themselves.

Faith and Willie Quilting

5.  Faith is a award winning author.  She has written and illustrated numerous children’s books, including Tar Beach, Harlem Renaissance Party (2015), as well as an autobiography titled We Flew over the Bridge (1995).

I'm always a little shocked when I do one of these "Facts You Didn't Know" posts.  It's amazing how one woman's life can contain so much ... a lot of which people along the way told her she COULDN'T do.  Can you imagine how her life would have gone if she had listened to that art teacher in college who told her she didn't have what it took to be an artist?  It boggles the mind.

After my quick trip to my parents cabin, I haven't quite gotten back to my studio, but I've been itching to do it!!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

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Norma Schlager said...

Great post and info about her. Faith also has mosaic mural in the NYC Subway as part of the arts in NY program.

Allison said...

Very interesting post. I will be googling her to find out more. Thanks for sharing.

Deb Thuman said...

I saw a Faith Ringgold exhibit at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY when I was in law school. It was an incredible exhibit. I love Ringgold's work.

Nina Marie said...

Ohhh I love Albright Knox!! We are only a short 1.5 hrs from there!!