Trailblazing Artist and Activist Faith Ringgold Has Died at 93


Faith Ringgold, the trailblazing artist who documented the African American experience in painting, sculpture, quilts, and books over more than five decades, has died at age 93 in her home in Englewood, New Jersey. Her passing on Saturday, April 13, was announced by ACA Galleries, which has represented the artist since 1995.

Ringgold is best known for her painted story quilts, which she began in the 1980s. These narrative pieces, some autobiographical, chronicled Black life and history in intricate panels that blended image and text. Her first such textile work, Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima? (1983), reimagined a reductive Black stereotype as a feminist hero, while her most famous quilt, Tar Beach 2 (1990), injected her memories of growing up in Harlem with a touch of fantasy. Ringgold has described her quilts as paintings “in the medium of quilting.”

“Throughout my professional life I felt free to do whatever I wanted to do—and use whatever material was suitable for my vision,” she said in 2022. “I felt no limitation.”

Faith Ringgold, Women on a Bridge #1 of 5: Tar Beach (1988). © Faith Ringgold/ARS, NY and DACS, London, courtesy ACA Galleries, New York.

The narrative quilts followed Ringgold’s work in painting, sculpture, and performance art throughout the 1960s and ’70s, which positioned her as one of the key leaders of the Black Arts movement. Running alongside her creative practice was her activism: she co-founded Women Students and Artists for Black Art Liberation with her daughter, Michele Wallace, in 1970; and Where We At, a collective established in 1971 to support Black women artists.

In the 1990s, Ringgold began writing a run of more than 10 children’s books, the first of which, Tar Beach (1991), clinched the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration. She published her memoir, We Flew Over the Bridge, in 1995, detailing the joys of her Harlem childhood as much as the struggles of maintaining a studio practice while raising a family.

Ringgold’s work has been collected by institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the High Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2019, the Serpentine Galleries in London staged her first European show; in 2022, the New Museum launched her first major retrospective in her hometown of New York.

At the time of her death, ACA wrote in an Instagram post, Ringgold “was eagerly anticipating her upcoming exhibitions and projects in Europe, particularly in Paris, Switzerland, and Basel, slated for this summer.” The gallery is also opening her exhibition, “Anyone Can Fly,” in May.

This is a developing story.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Credit: Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.