A truly unique quilt exhibition premiered at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on October 12, 2013. It will run until March 29, 2014 before starting a National Tour. “And Still We Rise’ features 85 handcrafted story quilts which lead the visitor through 400 years of African American History. Topics include stories of slavery and bravery, famous African Americans such as Frederick Douglass and astronaut Mae Jamison, and of course the first African American President. It provides a colorful timeline from the first slaves abducted by Dutch Traders in the 1600’s to the election of President Obama. Stretched end to end, the quilts would cover the length of a football field.
Perhaps as interesting as the exhibition, are the Quilters themselves. These original quilts were created by members of the international organization, Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN). The organization was founded in 1985 by Carolyn Mazloomi, Ph.D. (director of the WCQN and curator of the show) to foster and preserve the art of quiltmaking among women of color. This non-profit organization has over 1200 international members, most of them living in the Midwest and South. The average age of the members is 68. The organization offers quilts and fiber art to museums for exhibition, and researches and documents African American quiltmaking. Since 1991, some of its artists have worked with the US State Department as cultural envoys to exhibit quilts and teach workshops in Africa, South America and Europe.
Marzloomi assembled this exhibition not only to tell a story, but while doing so to showcase a variety of fiber art techniques including free motion quilting, embroidery, needlepoint, appliqué, fiber collage, and hand beading. Quilts were created in the traditional African American style in China, Tanzania, and in 20 states in the US. Fourteen were created in Ohio. Four of those are from Cincinnati.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
50 E Freedom Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission $12 adults; $10 seniors/students and $8 children, 3-12
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