N. Chs. African-American fiber art exhibition is inspired by an Esperanza Spalding song


"Black gold with a diamond soul"

Now in its 13th year, the African American fiber art exhibition at the North Charleston Arts festival (which kicks off today, May 1) will be on display at North Charleston’s City Hall through June 1. Curated by Cookie Washington, this year’s exhibition theme is Black Gold, inspired by an Esperanza Spalding song of the same name.
[content-1] Washington says this year’s show features 70 pieces, including quilts, dolls, and wearable art. You’ll find intricately detailed dolls from the likes of Billie Cunningham and Tanya Montegut, and large quilted pieces from Ora Clay, Jeannette Spencer, and Gwen T. Samuels.
Washington is perhaps most excited about the work of Patricia Montgomery, who will display her Civil Rights coats, special coats that feature sentences with words like “Jim Crow,” “NAACP,” and “National Historic Landmark.”

“Black Gold,” a song that speaks of finding strength, has inspired Washington to curate a show that celebrates the beauty in life, in the face of so much hopelessness and despair. “I want young people to see that there are so many positive, beautiful things about our culture,” she says. “And I really think that each of the pieces I picked speak of hopefulness, and leaving a legacy for the next generation.”

“I applaud the way the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department has supported African-American artists and really championed individual artists with this festival,” says Washington. “North Charleston City Hall will be filled with black art.”

Learn more about the exhibition, and tomorrow, Thurs. May 2’s lunch and learn (free!) online at northcharlestonartsfest.com.

(Spalding, for those interested in more of her music, heads to Charleston for Spoleto Festival USA this year. Spalding is a bassist and vocalist who has been described by Essence as “dazzling” and called “truly intoxicating” by The New York Times.)

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