The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles
Faith Ringgold, American, born 1930. Printed by Eileen M. Foti, American, born 1963. Printed by Lynne Allen, American, born 1948. Printed at the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, New Brunswick, New Jersey (now known as the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions).
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In this lithograph, eight powerful African American women from the past and present display a colorful quilt that is a communal symbol of their achievements. From upper left they are Madam Walker, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells, Fannie Lou Hammer, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Ella Baker. A ninth figure, on the lower left, is Willia Marie Simone, a fictional character created by the artist. Vincent van Gogh, well known for his paintings of sunflowers, stands to the right.
Through words and text, symbol and metaphor, Ringgold acknowledges the contributions of African American women and honors their traditions. She is a painter, soft sculptor, quilter, performance artist, and author; and she always speaks in a clear voice that affirms women, especially African American women.