I want people to know how it feels: quilt exhibitions will explore police brutality and racism

Black Lives Matter, a quilt by Glenda Richardson

Inspired to record a watershed moment, a prominent curator and quilter in Minnesota is organising two juried quilt exhibitions exploring the themes of police brutality and racism in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.

“When I saw the video of George Floyd getting killed and him calling out for his mom, I felt compelled to do something, as a mother and an African American,” says the curator, Carolyn Mazloomi, whose nonprofit Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN) is organising the shows with the Textile Center in Minneapolis. A series of quilt exhibitions at scattered sites titled We Are the Story is being planned in tandem with the juried shows by the WCQN and the Textile Center this fall and winter in Minnesotas Twin Cities.

“I want people to know how it feels to be African American and marginalised and discriminated against, especially by people hired to protect you,” Mazloomi says. “Its frightening and very disconcerting. We have to pay homage to people who have lost their lives through these [police] killings in such a brutal way.”

The two organisations issued a call for entries on 9 June, with a deadline of 31 July. The two juried shows, each featuring around 25 quilts, are expected to open at the Textile Center on 1 September provided that state and local officials lift restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mazloomi says. The exhibitions will be titled Gone but Never Forgotten: Remembering Those Lost to Police Brutality and Racism: In the Face of Hate We Resist.

Since the call for entries went out, she says, she has received quilts celebrating individuals who were slain by police officers around the country. Others contend with the issues of brutality and the relationships between Black Americans and the police.

Carolyn Crump's quilt titled Dont Hate Me

“Quilts are like historical documents,” Mazloomi says. “A hundred years from now, they will give people a picture of today.” She notes that many Americans are also making quilts about the coronavirus pandemic and celebrating the medical workers who are caring for people sickened by the virus.

Trained as an aerospace engineer, Mazloomi turned to quilting in the 1980s and soon set out to bring the contributions of African American quilt artists to the fore, founding WCQN in 1985. Her goal was to educate the public about the range of styles and techniques those artists deployed and to school a younger generation of African Americans about their own history. To date she has published 12 books on quilts based on her research.

Her own quilts can be found in both private collections and museums. One is to be featured in the show We Who Believe in Freedom, which commemorates the 1961 Freedom Riders who traveled to the Jim Crow South and is one of the many shows being organised in the Twin Cities as part of the We Are the Story series. The quilt depictsRead More – Source

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