And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations — a new exhibition

1746: Lucy Terry, an enslaved person, becomes the earliest known African American poet when she writes about the last Native American attack on her village of Deerfield, Massachusetts. Abijah Prince, a freed slave, bought Lucy’s freedom and married her. They would become parents of six children, and Mrs. Prince would become the family spokesperson who protected their personal and family rights. Her poem, “Bar's Fight,” will not be published until 1855.

1746: Lucy Terry, an enslaved person, becomes the earliest known African American poet when she writes about the last Native American attack on her village of Deerfield, Massachusetts. Abijah Prince, a freed slave, bought Lucy’s freedom and married her. They would become parents of six children, and Mrs. Prince would become the family spokesperson who protected their personal and family rights. Her poem, “Bar’s Fight,” will not be published until 1855.

The Bruce Museum presents “And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations,” featuring 40 quilts from artists of the Women of Color Quilters Network, from Jan. 16 through April 24, 2016.

Using the powerful medium of story quilts, the exhibition narrates nearly four centuries of African-American history, from the first slave ships to the first African American president and beyond. This exhibition, now on a national tour, is curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi and presented by the Women of Color Quilters Network in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

“The exhibition gives voice to personal, authentic, and unique histories of African-American men and women­­­­­­– from relating painful stories of enslaved ancestors, to highlighting contemporary political leaders and drawing attention to social challenges our nation continues to face today,” explains guest curator Mazloomi, who is an accomplished artist, writer, former aerospace engineer and founder of the Women of Color Quilters Network.

The beautifully hand-crafted quilts narrate stories of the African-American experience that include Phillis Wheatley, the first African American woman to have her work published (in 1773); the Harlem Renaissance; baseball legend Jackie Robinson; Academy Award-winning actor Hattie McDaniel; Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and the tragedy of Trayvon Martin.

Story quilting is an art form that goes beyond the simple quilting patterns familiar to many people. It expands on traditional textile-arts techniques to record, in fabric, events of personal or historical significance. Through the accessibility of their colors, patterns and symbols, the quilts of “And Still We Rise” relate narratives that enable conversations about sensitive topics from our national history, furthering the discussion of racial reconciliation in America.

The exhibition is generously underwritten by First Republic, a Committee of Honor, and the Charles M. and Deborah G Royce Exhibition Fund, with support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

And Still We Rise Public Programs

Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Day

Monday, January 18, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Fun, family activities for all ages and performances by Bright Star Theatre Company.

Performances and activities are free with Museum admission and no registration is required.

11:00 am. George Washington Carver and Friends (best for ages 3-8)

1:00 pm. Struggle for Freedom: The Life of Dr. King (best for ages 8 and up) 

Monday Morning Lectures. Craft and Social Change in America

Admission: free for members, $7 non-members.

No advance registration required.

  • February 29, 10:00-11:15 am. Lecture by Ed Johnetta Miller, textile artist.
  • March 7, 10:00-11:15 am. Lecture by Dr. Myrah Brown Green, art historian and quilt artist.
  • March 14, 10:00-11:15 am. Lecture by Sara Reisman, Artistic Director at the Rubin Foundation.
  • March 21, 10:00-11:15 am. Lecture by Ruthie Dibble, PhD student at Yale.  Lecture will discuss how the production of textiles allowed African American and white women to renegotiate their place in the social fabric of the United States during the Civil War, situating the quilts in the exhibition within this longer history of emancipation and textile production.

Craft in America Screenings

This Peabody Award-winning series, originally broadcast on Public Television, highlights America’s rich cultural history, and the ways in which artisans use crafts to grapple with contemporary issues. Films are on Wednesday mornings from 10:30 – 11:15 am. Each film is 50 minutes long, and followed by 15 minutes of Q&A with a Bruce Museum staff member

Free with Museum admission. No advance registration required.

  • January 20. Episode 1 “Memory”
  • January 27. Episode 2 “Landscape”
  • February 3. Episode 3 “Community”
  • February 10. Episode 4 “Origins”
  • February 17. Episode 5 “Process”
  • February 24. Episode 6 “Messages”
  • March 2. Episode 7 “Family”

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