Header Image: "The Safety Patrol", 2018. Cotton, wool, silk chiffon, silk organza applique and quilting.
Every culture places significance on cloth. Fabric is always rife with meanings and symbolism, whether it’s to signal the status of royalty or to warn of unruly citizens. Bisa Butler is an artist that makes use of the deep meanings fabric can have. As a fiber artist, she’s created many story quilts that tell the tales of African Americans.
Quilting has always been a big part of enslaved African’s history. They were never allowed big swathes of clothes, so had to make do by stitching pieces of fabric together. Butler herself was taught sewing techniques from her grandmother and mother. In her quilts, Butler uses African fabrics, including those from her father’s homeland Ghana. In this way, she acknowledges her ancestry, connecting her African American history with her African heritage.