African American quilts on exhibit at Ohio Craft Museum

Yoshiko Yap
“Amani, Queen of Diamonds” by Wendy Kendrick

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic was commencing, a group of African American females banded jointly with reason: support one a further as quilt artists and seize and advertise the society of their group.

Two yrs afterwards, the group, established by Monica Scott and Renee Wormack-Keels, are showing the fruits of their quilting labors in a proudly vibrant exhibit curated by Bettye Stull and on look at at the Ohio Craft Museum.

“Kuumba Connections: Quilts by Modern African American Artists” is a lovely and believed-provoking assortment of 39 pieces by 9 artists from Ohio and numerous other states.

The term “kuumba” refers to the sixth basic principle of Kwanzaa: creativity or leaving one’s community additional wonderful and helpful than one particular located it. The artists in this show are bold in their use of several hues, components and strategy, not to point out themes that generally have to do with protest and social justice.

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Included in her 5 will work in the exhibit are 3 depictions of African royalty offered as massive participating in playing cards by Gahanna artist Wendy Kendrick. These regal portraits are “Jelani, King of Diamonds,” “Jaffe, Jack of Diamonds” and the dashing “Amani, Queen of Diamonds.”

“Off Kilter” by Cynthia Caitlin

With 8 items in the show, Cynthia Caitlin of Beaver Creek demonstrates terrific versatility in her subject make a difference, design and structure. “Off Kilter” is a substantial quilt made of African material squares, every at a bit of a tilt. Not confined to generating conventional flat quilts, Caitlin has created beautiful quilt vases together with “Majestic Swirls Vase.”

A amount of the artists include buttons, shells, beads, leather and other resources into their function. Stefanie Rivers of Columbus has a industry day with the extras adorning the woman’s huge head in her quilt “Queen of Almost everything.”

Carole Gary Staples, of West Chester, provides portraits of a few strong ladies in “You Are My Sister.” Her subjects have patterned material faces and are putting on serious earrings. In her “Corona Virus with Police Brutality on the Fringe,” buttons with the heads of murdered Blacks are located down below the portrait of a girl sporting a Black Lives Subject button.

“Corona Virus with Police Brutality on the Fringe” by Carole Gary Staples

Judy Harris Middleton of Starkville, Mississippi, employed material from the handmade cotton dresses of her grandmother to dress the small women in her “Three Generations” quilt.

Group co-founder Renee Wormack-Keels of Reynoldsburg honors substantial Black women of Ohio in her “The Ohio Star Quilt” and feminine blues singers in “Wild Girls Really do not Have the Blues,” like the sassy phrases from the Ida Cox music that provides the quilt its title. (Look up the lyrics they’re worth it.)

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“Three Generations” by Judy Harris Middleton

Some of the artists have been quilting for a extended time and many others are fairly new to the artwork. In the notes beside her beautiful turquoise and yellow “Roots & Wings” quilt, group co-founder Monica Scott of Columbus writes “I take into account myself a personalized do the job in development.”

Irrespective of the artists’ expertise, just about every has crafted quilts that are powerfully communicative. As curator Stull writes, “The Kuumba quilters stick to the custom of African American women of all ages. They are the storytellers of our lifestyle, and the artistic connectors preserving our heritage and stitching together their stories for the viewer to appreciate.”

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At a glance

“Kuumba Connections: Quilts by Contemporary African American Artists” continues by means of April 2 at the Ohio Craft Museum, 1665 W. Fifth Ave. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays as a result of Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is totally free. Guests are essential to put on masks. Connect with 614-486-4402 or visit

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