Oct 16, 2002

art as a daily dose of hope
Believing in art means believing in magic.
In the time of cave paintings, the shaman was artist. He captured animals on his walls in order to channel and change energy and consciousness. Because these are the forces that can transform and shape the world.

God was the first artist, the shaman the second but woman was the third.
Woman, in the past, was traditionally known as a “homemaker.” In other words, woman is the one who makes the home. The home is more than just four well-sustained walls. It is both material and spiritual. A home is the smell of coffee brewing in the morning. A home is sleeping on a clean pillowcase. A home is a foto album with pictures of yourself throughout the years. A home nourished our spirit. We show our love for this spirit by trying to make our home pleasing, by making it pretty. By making our home a work of art. For example, Ndebele women of Southern Africa t beautify the exteriors of their homes with colorful murals. Or the Basotho women who pray to their ancestors for rain, and peace by painting and slicing brilliant geometric murals on the mud plaster walls of their houses. And if their prayers are successful, the rains will wash the paint away.
(painting as prayer). The home is sutra.

Woman’s love for her homemade her an artist.



One of the most beautiful forms of home arts is that of the patchwork quilt. When there wasn’t an abundance of consumerism, everything was recycled. I can remember by Aunt Ollie who’d cut up fabric scraps and worn out dresses into little pieces to make quilt blocks. Often women would work together at “Quilting Bees”. Working together not only gave them the possibility socializing, it also gave them the possibility of exchanging information about daily life.
A quilt is also called a “comforter”, something that gives comfort.
Woman’s art soothed.

An artist who’s used the concept of the quilt as the basis of her art is Faith Ringgold. Born Faith Jones in Harlem during the Great Depression and raised in a middle-class African American family. At the age of 20, Ringgold married and soon had 2 daughters. She soon divorced and was left with children to not only raise but maintain as well. Nevertheless, she insisted on going to college. At the time, it wasn’t easy to be a woman and it wasn’t easy to be black. To be black and female meant being a peripheral American. She wanted to be an artist and didn’t feel secure about it until a trip to Paris with her kids and her mother. In Paris, she knew, finally that she was an artist.

In 1972, already an artist and activist, Ringgold become one of the founders of the Women Students and Artists for Black Liberation. At this time, racial chauvinism was implicit in American Patriotism. The democracy that existed for a black woman was not that of white men and Ringgold was often subjected to the rejection and humiliation of the male dominated art scene of New York. She responded by doing a series of American flag paintings. But her flags did not have the same heroic significance of those that bombarded American visuals after September 11. Her bleeding flags represent the hypocritical reality of American democracy.



But in the 1970s, Ringgold shifted from a concern for public empowerment to a personal empowerment. She now began her Painted Story Quilts combining a traditional female utilitarian craft with so-called high art. Ringgold’s mother was a steam stress and dress designer for Harlem women and began collaborating with her daughter in 1972 when Faith was tired of canvases stretched on wooden frames and made frames of fabric that could be rolled up and easily transported and/or stored away. She wanted to make things from cloth focusing in more on women’s experience and making art that had a closer connection with the realities of everyday life. She began working with her mom and used materials that derived from traditional sources (women’s work and traditional African art) and continued to collaborate with her mother until her mother’s death in 1981.

Art for art’s sake does little t help man in his search towards a private identity. Instead, art for human’s sake helps us find our own center of gravity (our own baricentro). And we find this center within our rapport with the everyday. That’s why Ringgold, who sought to make art that represented everyday life, began paintings on quilts. But her quilts were not just handcraft experiences. To make quilts, Ringgold does massive research—drawings, fotocopied images, news clipping etc are always pile high in her studio.
The avant-garde has become academic. There’s also too much theory and too little art and many of use feel the need for the demystification of art. And that’s why traditionally considered craft techniques have been introduced by women into the fine arts.

"I am inspired by people who rise above their adversity. That's my deepest inspiration. And also I'm inspired by the fact that if I really, really want to, I think I can do anything." Faith Ringgold

We must speak or our ideas will remain unknown. And in creating, we give ourselves empowerment. Art represents liberty because it gives us a voice.

“Ideas are my freedom. And freedom is why I became an artist.” Ringgold
Art, like politics, begins at home.


Ringgold:
You Were Too Young To Remember What We Must Never Forget-- Faith Ringgold and Barbara Cooney-- Faith Ringgold's French Collection and Other Story Quilts-- Faith Ringgold Images-- Faith RingGold Gallery 1-- Love in the schoolyard-- Faith Ringgold is an African-American artist and author who was born in 1930 in Harlem, New York City, and who is best known for her large, painted story quilts.-- Faith Ringgold's "The Men" challenges viewers to re-examine stereotypes.-- She made her first quilt, Echoes of Harlem, in 1980, in collaboration with her mother Madame Willi Posey-- A trip to Paris on a Sunday afternoon in SoHo-- The Story Quilts of Faith Ringgold-- Faith Ringgold: Her Story in Text and Image-- The French Collection: dancing at the louvre-- In 1972 Ringgold become one of the founders of the Women Students and Artists for Black Liberation-- Faith Ringgold, has used her art to voice her opinions on racism and gender inequality.--Interview with Faith Ringgold-- First Annual Artist Interviews: Faith Ringgold and Miriam Schapiro-- Outrageous Dreamers-- Jo Baker’s birthday-- Ringgold, Faith-- The Black arts movement-- Pictures: Gallery of Diversità--

Art quilts:
Keeping us in stitiches-- Nightgazer: Hermit & the Moon Tarot Self Portrait-- GREEN QUILTS-- American Art Quilts for the 21st Century-- Opera Art Quilts-Opera Art Quilts--
Planet patchwork-- "Cloth Poems"--
HEATHER WALDRON TEWELL-- Sue Boone quilts-- The goal of the project was to create new artwork for a building that the City of New York was renovating for a much needed foster care facility that processes children entering into this system for the first time.-- Jeanne Williamson Ostroff-- Nancy Crow quilts--
Tarot Art Quilts-- the festivalquilts-excite and in spire-- Contemporary Quilt and Fiber Artists-- Women of Taste: A Collaboration Celebrating Quilt Artists and Chefs-- Quilt National '87-- Joanie San Chirico Contemporary Art Quilts-- QuiltEthnic.com
African women paint homes:
In Northern Ghana women have traditionally painted the walls of their houses.-- Outside a decorated house, a Ndebele matron sits-- Ndebele painted houses are a tradition barely more than 50 years old-- Ndebele art is naturally grandiose-- The Ndzundza Ndebele are best known for their spectacular homes. -- Ndebele women of Southern Africa to beautify their homes with colorful murals.-- African Painted Houses: Basotho Dwellings of Southern Africa by Gary N. Van Wyk




...more homemade aide....
the best gift i ever got, aside from life and all those other gifts from the universe itself, was a box that my mom gave me on my 21st birthday. it was decorated with decoupaged crowns and drawings and star wars trading cards. a href="http://www.mindspring.com/~ramahughes/play.html">she made it herself.< it had a soft cushioned interior and, when i received it, it was full. my mom had contacted lots of people who i knew, my family and my friends, and asked them to write me a letter or to do a drawing for me. mostly they were letters but there were a few drawings at first too. i began reading them right away and that was the first time ever that a present from someone had made me cry. Thanks Rama for sending me this link!
And thanks to my son Sergio for sending me .this link

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