SAVANNAH, GA — The SCAD Museum of Art presents its first major exhibition of 2011 with “The Art of Faith Ringgold: Story Quilts and Freedom Quests,” on view Jan. 31 through April 15 at the SCAD Museum of Art, 227 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The exhibition will open with a lecture by Ringgold 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at SCAD’s Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St., followed by a book signing. The lecture and exhibition are free and open to the public.
Ringgold, a celebrated African American painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist and illustrator, has works in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and numerous others. The artist, who has recently celebrated her 80th birthday, is the recipient of numerous honors, among which are 22 honorary doctorates. Her painted story quilts include series such as the French Collection and the American Collection. Her children’s book Tar Beach has won Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Awards. Ringgold explores diverse historical and cultural traditions in art as well as complex themes of freedom, feminism and race through her rich visual imagery.
The exhibition, “The Art of Faith Ringgold,” will feature 60 pieces from across four decades, including a number of Ringgold’s most recent works directly from her New York gallery that will be on view in a museum for the first time. Seven story quilts and tankas from the Coming to Jones Road series of 2000 and 2010 capture evocative and memorable visions of a late 18th-century epic journey to freedom by a group of slaves combining dramatic episodes, and counterpointed by heroic icons from Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman to Martin Luther King Jr. Some scenes are set within hauntingly sumptuous nocturnal landscapes; all are described with a vibrant palette and set off by text-enriched backgrounds and borders. The large-scale paintings resonate with family and national historic narrative. Ringgold’s characteristic duality of beautiful imagery and deceptively simple characters and storylines repeatedly challenge the viewers to reexamine mythologies of cultural memory and identity.
The exhibition includes examples in various media by the artist, such as masks, dolls, soft sculptures, painted story quilts, drawings, prints and illustrations. In addition to Coming to Jones Road, other highlights include the Declaration of Freedom and Independence quilt (2009), Jazz Stories (2004), and the complete illustrations for Tar Beach (1991) and Martin Luther King’sLetter from Birmingham Jail (2007).
The SCAD Museum of Art, Trustees Lecture Series, Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies, and the Savannah Black Heritage Festival sponsor the exhibition and lecture, with generous support from the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation.
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