“The creative license of the artists to spark conversation about the correlation between the history of the mansion and the social revolution of today creates vocabulary…”
New York, NY- May 23, 2016 The voice of consciousness is ever present in the exhibition of The Fabric of Emancipation curated by Harlem Needle Arts in collaboration with the Morris-Jumel Mansion. The exhibit examines the diversity of fiber constructionists and their existence as Africans in the Americas.
Eight artists explore the development of textile to construct art which examines their personal identity, cultural worth and what it means (or does not mean) to be liberated in the Americas. The works are further defined by the socio-political agency and injustices as it relates to the history of the mansion and its residents. The exhibition not only highlights the ills of oppression but it provokes a call to action for communities to research and become culturally aware that Africans in the Americas have an identity which is fractured but stands on centuries of history.
The expressions of art incorporate contemporary, folk, and abstract concepts, materials, and styles. These stories in textile and design are tightly woven through each artist’s narrative of creating works through the media of quilt, embroidery, mix-media, clothing and fiber fusion. “The creativity and artistry put into these works that speak to a theme both personal and historical really says a lot about the continuing relevance of history today,” says Kelsey Brow, Assistant Curator at the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
The Fabric of Emancipation is an artistic force which illustrates truth while creating a force to move society forward. The exhibit stimulates citizens to think critically and radically about the humanity of people of African heritage.
“The creative license of the artists to spark conversation about the correlation between the history of the mansion and the social revolution of today creates vocabulary and space for the viewer to evaluate the context of the Americas then and Americas now. The artists are griots using thread as their base medium and their collective work represents the intersection of the invisible, the interpretation of oral history, the trauma of silence, African rituals and the continuous struggle for liberation. As the works reimagine the world of needle arts, the exhibitions shreds light on the contemporary nature of art forms that have a life span representing centuries of creating through needle arts,” says Michelle Bishop, founder and executive director of Harlem Needle Arts.
The featured artists for The Fabric of Emancipation include:
Sara Bunn – New Jersey
Michael Cummings – New York
Ife Felix – New York
L’Merchie Frazier - Boston
Laura R. Gadson – New York
Dindga McCannon – Philadelphia
Heather Marie Scholl – New York
LaShawnda Crowe Storm - Indianapolis (in conjunction with poet M. Eliza Hamilton Abegunde)
Representing some of the countries’ preeminent fiber, textile and needle artists, their works are part of the permanent collections of the White House, Brooklyn Museum, Studio Museum of Harlem, American Museum of Art and Design, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Johnson Publications Co., Proctor and Gamble, Disney Corp. as well as private collections of Whoopi Goldberg, Bill and Camille Cosby. Works exhibited nationally and internationally New York, Boston, Connecticut, Kentucky, Washington, DC and San Diego along with South Africa, Japan, and Barbados.
The Fabric of Emancipation will open June 4 to October 3, 2016. Opening reception June 4, 6:00pm-8:00pm. For more information and artists bios contact Michelle Bishop 212-491-8581
The following program is planned in conjunction with The Fabric of Emancipation, and take place at the Morris-Jumel Mansion: Family day Saturday, July 9 – The Art of Quilting workshop
Generous support for The Fabric of Emancipation is provided by the New York Council for the Humanities.
Morris-Jumel Mansion is located at 65 Jumel Terrace, New York, New York, 10032 (212) 923-8008
Monday By appointment only | Tuesday – Friday 10:00am-4:00pm | Saturday – Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm
P.O. Box 111
New York, New York
About Harlem Needle Arts
About Harlem Needle Arts A cultural arts institute designed to preserve and promote fiber and needle arts in the African Diaspora. Through the arts Harlem Needle Arts (HNA) enriches and expands the techniques of weaving, batik, Adire, quilt, knitting, crochet, spinning, felting, fiber fusion, fiber construction, design and textile creation to Harlem and the global community. With a portfolio of emerging and established fiber constructionists HNA also represents the interest of artists and novices in both national and international exhibitions; corporate and museum acquisitions; publishing opportunities in books and magazines; technical support and platforms for lecture and teaching presentations. HNA also uses art as therapy to improve the quality of life in Harlem by helping the community to realize that art activities helps one to be more energetic, relaxed and accomplish more in their daily lives. Hence HNA helps to improve one’s well-being by reducing the effects of hypertension and arthritis, improving muscle memory and enhancing academic and social performance with children. About Morris-Jumel Mansion Morris-Jumel Mansion, Inc. operates the Morris -Jumel Mansion as a historic house museum and thereby seeks to preserve and interpret Manhattan’s oldest residence, one that has witnessed the evolution of northern Manhattan from rural countryside to a dynamic multicultural community. Through historic site tours and education programs, the museum interprets the mansion in the context of domestic life in New York City from 1765 until 1865, the influx of European immigrants to Washington Heights in the late 1800’s, the City Beautiful movement at the turn of the century, the life of the Jumel Terrace Historic District, and more recent immigration. Morris-Jumel Mansion seeks to serve as a cultural resource for an audience of national and international visitors and, in particular, the diverse audiences of the City of New York.