Prestige Raffia Panel
Arts of Africa
In the embroidered runner for Sojourner Truth (American, c. 1797–1883), Chicago and her collaborators intermingled Central African strip-weaving techniques with the symbolic quilt-making of African American artists such as Harriet Powers (American, 1839–1910), who, like Truth, was born into slavery. As a feminist artist, Chicago placed great weight on the liberating power of knowing one’s historical and aesthetic antecedents. In the Truth runner she used patterns akin to those from Kuba culture, thereby alluding to the knowledge of heritage denied to African Americans by white society. In early notes for the runner, Chicago considered using “homely fabrics” to convey Truth’s life circumstances, but elected instead to honor the rich textile traditions of black culture before the start of the Atlantic slave trade.
Raffia palm fiber, pigment, inks
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Transferred from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The William B. Goldstein Collection
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Kuba. Prestige Raffia Panel, 20th century. Raffia palm fiber, pigment, inks, 22 x 22 1/2 in. (55.9 x 57.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Transferred from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The William B. Goldstein Collection, 2005.30.14. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 2005.30.14_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2005.30.14_PS9.jpg., 2017
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