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Community Fabric: African American Quilts and Folk Art

February 13–April 10, 1994

This exhibition examines the dynamics of community traditions and aesthetics using a group of important, recently documented quilts, carvings, drawings, and other decorative arts produced by African American artisans working in the rural South from 1900 to 1980. These examples are discussed in light of the contexts and inspirations of their makers and the communities which played a role in their creation. Traditional aspects of color and pattern usage, subject matter, as well as the diversity and variety of singular creative impulses, often seen in the work of African American Folk artisans, will be illustrated and discussed. Narratives from many of the artisans and craftsmen, together with the objects produced by them, document a lively combination of the strong cultural and visual legacy present in the African American folk community combined with the wealth of creativity and improvisation demonstrated by the individual artisans and craftsmen inspired by these traditions. Community Fabric was organized in collaboration with Dr. Maude Southwell Wahlman.

Main Building


The Pew Charitable Trusts


Jack L. Lindsey
Dilys E. Blum

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