Ms. Faith Ringgold, center, continues to work hard at being an artist! She has been awarded 52 commissions (see below for details).
Faith Ringgold was in the forefront, fighting for equity for women artists, in the 1970's. We still have a ways to go, but she and other artists in New York City raised their voices to complain that women were not in exhibitions at the major institutions such as the Whitney Annual.
The Hatch-Billops website presents an amusing clip of Ringgold (preceded by an intro to the collection...it's worth looking at this). In the video done by the archivists, she comments about conditions for women in the 1970's and the satisfaction some women were feeling about their progress. I paraphrase:
"The white women were getting into shows, and showing with the guys and selling their work. But I wasn't!"
But she kept pressing forward. She found a way to make her large scale work portable and mailable at affordable costs, by creating paintings that were decorated using quilting on the edges that did not need framing (her mom, Willi Posey Jones, a clothing designer showed her how). And by the way, through this process of solving a problem, she invented her signature style.
She made soft sculpture, and wrote successful books, another great way to have her art seen by a large part of the population.
My personal connection to Ms. Ringgold is that she juried a show I submitted to in Chicago at Woman Made Gallery in 2005. I won First Prize out of about 1200 pieces submitted by international artists, to the surprise of the gallery folks! I will always be grateful for that stamp of approval!
The gallery may or may not have thought it a fluke that I won until I repeated a win when I was awarded First Prize from ArtNews correspondent Margaret Hawkins a few years later!
I have been following Faith Ringgold for years.
Faith Ringgold in front of her quilt, Tar Beach, 1993.
She is an inspiration. She is an arts advocate, a supporter of women artists and a very generous and nurturing woman who teaches and encourages. And she works harder than many people I know who complain that they are not getting their share! Work like Faith Ringgold and then complain! After you produce a TON of work, write a few books.
About the commissions; here is information sent by Grace Matthews:
Metro Subway Station in Los Angeles, California. Mosaika, the fabulous company in Montreal is fabricating the designs. Here are photos of Faith's recent visit to check on the progress of the mosaic panels. received a commission to design 52 mosaics for the Civic Center
May 17 - June 26, 2009
Web site: www.faithringgold.com
I did a review of Ms Ringgold's autobiography, We Flew Over the Bridge. See an excerpt below
from my down-to-earth review for the Journal of African American History in red...notice the other writers! I first saw this today as I wrote this post!
"Faith Ringgold has already won my heart as an artist, as a woman, as an African American and now with her entry into the world of autobiography (where I dwell), she has taken my heart again. She writes so beautifully."--Maya Angelou "Faith Ringgold has created a rich and highly informative work not only of her own life as an American in general but as an African American in particular. These memoirs are a part of American history--of what it means to be an artist, a writer, and a philosopher in our society."--Jacob Lawrence "In words that are as direct, honest, full of color and life as her paintings, Ringgold gives each reader the greatest gift of all--courage to be one's own unique and universal self."--Gloria Steinem "The story of Ringgold's triumph--achieved through sheer determination, savvy, and self-conviction--is both accessible and inspiring."--Lowery Stokes Sims, Executive Director, The Studio Museum in Harlem "Faith Ringgold's exuberant and original art has made her one of America's more important artists and a feminist heroine. Now her wonderfully honest memoirs will resonate with all political and creative women who are still fighting the battles Ringgold has won."--Lucy Lippard, author of The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Essays on Feminist Art "Bridging is the major motif of Ringgold's life ... She is a bridge between the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights era. She is a bridge between her mother's applied art of fashion design and her own fine art of painting and story quilts. She is a bridge between the black power movement and the women's movement. And she is a bridge between the abstract art that dominated the '60s and the issue-oriented art that connected with viewers' hearts--and lives."--Carrie Rickey, The Philadelphia Inquirer "A memoir is revealing on two levels: since it's selective remembering, what the author chooses to tell us about herself ends up telling us something additional. WE FLEW OVER THE BRIDGE is candid, sometimes humorous, sometimes bordering on bitter, and almost quilt-like as she pieces together a wide range of topics, from the intensely personal to political and professional. Harlem at the close of the Renaissance, the art world's resistance to nonwhite artists, Black Power's resistance to feminism, combining marital life and parenthood with a career - all are viewed through her unique lens." --Gerri Gribi, www.AfroAmericanHeritage.com "Part cultural history, part coming-of-age story, part romance and part portrait of perseverance..."--Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Essence "One of the country's most preeminent African-American artists and award-winning children's book authors, shares the fascinating story of her life, complete with family pictures."--Ebony "This story told in numerous engaging family photos, art work reproductions and lore, is now getting a much-deserved, broader distribution. The story artist Faith Ringgold tells is one of warm family relations, sustaining friendships, and the challenge of overcoming prejudices. The book also is a visual chronicle of African American fashion and style."--The International Review of African American Art
"Ringgold provides juicy autobiographical stories, supplemented with personal photographs as well as ample illustrations and descriptions of her work. It is a memoir every artist should read... The book is informative, forthright, and fun, and is a great teaching tool for both emerging and established artists."--Joyce Owens Anderson*, The Journal of African American History
*I am also known as Joyce Owens Anderson.