A new exhibit entitled “Home Sewn” Quilts from the Lower Mississippi Valley opened last week at the Anacostia Community Museum, and will run until September 21, 2014.
The first in a series of collections-focused exhibitions, Home Sewn features quilts created by Annie Dennis (1904–1997) and Emma Russell (1909–2004). Quilts represent classic American quilt patterns and techniques passed down through five generations. This exhibition examine the generational, social, and economic fabric of an African American quilting community in rural Mississippi. In addition, fieldwork and interviews with present-day African American women quilters give voice to the continuing tradition of quilting in these communities.
A second exhibit, on the same schedule, is about Ndwango (means “cloth”), a new form of bead art developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Ubuhle (means “beautiful”) artists’ community was established in 1999 by local resident Bev Gibson and master beader Ntombephi Ntombela [En-Tom-be-Fi En-tom-bell-la] to empower local women with the means to provide for their families through their art. The flat surface of the textile onto which the Ubuhle women bead is reminiscent of the Xhosa headscarves and skirts that many of them grew up wearing. Using black fabric as a canvas and different colored Czech glass beads as the medium of expression, the Ubuhle community has re-imagined the longstanding beading tradition as a contemporary art form. Twenty-nine works are featured, including The African Cruxifixion.
Ubuhle: pronounced Uh-Buk-lay in Xhosa (Ho-Sa)
The Anacostia Communnity Museum is part of the Smithsonian; you can find more information here: http://www.si.edu/Museums/anacostia-community-museum