Faith Ringgold: Story Quilts

April 27-May 7, 2017

As part of the Smithsonian Craft Show, artist Faith Ringgold showcases nine narrative quilts at the Museum. Ringgold is the recipient of the Craft Show’s 2017 Visionary Award, which recognizes artists of distinction in the field of sculptural arts and design.

“Tar Beach #2” By Faith Ringgold
Tar Beach #2 by Faith Ringgold

Ringgold is best known for painted narrative quilts inspired by Buddhist tankas—painted and brocaded fabric pictures—and her mother’s work as a fashion designer. In the early 1970s she abandoned traditional oils for paintings in acrylic on unstretched canvas and fabric borders, and she has painted her signature story quilts ever since. Her work focuses on civil rights and gender equality, African American life and culture, family joys and hardships, and the education of children.

The exhibit features Tar Beach #2 (1990–1992), which depicts Ringgold’s recollections of growing up in Harlem during the summer when the tar roof of an apartment building served as a place for family picnics, star gazing and good times. Ringgold won a Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award for her book Tar Beach.

Entrance to the exhibit is free with admission to the Smithsonian Craft Show. The 35th annual Smithsonian Craft Show will be held April 27–30 in the Museum’s Great Hall. After April 30, visitors can tour the exhibition with a Museum admission ticket.