And Still We Rise: Race, Culture, and Visual Conversations
230 North Rose Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: (269) 373-7990
Curated by artist, historian, and national lecturer Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations features works of superb artistry that draw on the enduring American tradition of narrative storytelling through the textile art of quilting. The beautifully handcrafted quilts featured in And Still We Rise were created by an international group of artists from the Women of Color Quilters Network and narrate the history of the African American experience, capturing the stories of freedom’s heroes, ranging from Frederick Douglass to Mae Jemison to the first African American President. Through the accessibility of their colors, patterns, and symbols, these quilts can relate stories that enable conversations about sensitive topics from our history, furthering the conversation of racial reconciliation in America. As the founder of the nonprofit, 1,700-member Women of Color Quilters Network, Mazloomi is in a unique position to bring together quilts from more than 50 contemporary artists that reflect on moments in history that have contributed to transformations of social justice in America and across the globe. Comprising 67 unique story quilts, this is a one-of-a-kind exhibition that makes a spectacular collective visual impact and showcases the diversity, creativity, and power of a texture-rich, color-saturated folk art form. The quilts of And Still We Rise represent their artists’ mastery of a diverse range of fiber art techniques, among them free-motion quilting, embroidery, needlepoint, appliqué, fiber collage, fusing, and hand beading. Reflecting each artist’s unique story, training, and style, the materials incorporated into the textile narratives include cotton, batik, organdy, metal, newsprint, beads, found objects, photo transfers, buttons, shell, wood, and vintage fabrics. The works of And Still We Rise engage visitors to reflect on and respond to significant national events from the 17th century into the 21st century. The exhibition’s resonant theme is the triumph of the human spirit within African American culture. By exploring and unpacking events of four centuries through a female-dominated art medium, the quilts of this exhibition bear witness to and relate perspectives that written history has often neglected.