Faith Ringgold, quilt and visual artist, dies at 93

Faith Ringgold, celebrated for her poignant depictions of African-American life through story quilts and other mediums, has passed away at the age of 93, per obituary by The renowned artist’s assistant, Grace Matthews, confirmed that Ringgold died peacefully at her home in Englewood, N.J., on Saturday.

Ringgold’s multifaceted body of work spanned paintings, sculptures, performance art, and children’s books, all of which centred on themes of Black identity and the intersection of race and gender. 

One of her most iconic creations, the story quilt “Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima,” garnered widespread acclaim for its exploration of the evolving portrayal of Black women, drawing inspiration from the imagery of a popular pancake brand.

Faith Ringgold        Image:Andrew Limbong

Despite facing early rejection in her pursuit of painting landscapes, Ringgold’s artistic journey evolved amidst the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Embracing the narrative power of her medium, she embarked on a series of paintings titled “The American People,” offering searing reflections on the social and political upheavals of the era.

Born in Harlem in 1930, Ringgold’s artistic talent blossomed from a young age, nurtured by her family’s tradition of quilt-making. Over the years, her work evolved from confrontational imagery to more uplifting themes, culminating in a prolific career that included numerous exhibitions worldwide and retrospectives of her groundbreaking art.

Art historian and curator Adrienne Childs hailed Ringgold as a trailblazer who paved the way for future generations of Black artists to express themselves through alternative mediums. Among Ringgold’s enduring legacies is her beloved children’s book “Tar Beach,” which invites readers to embark on a journey of imagination and empowerment, echoing the artist’s timeless message that anyone can soar to new heights with the power of imagination. As the art world mourns the loss of a visionary talent, Faith Ringgold’s legacy continues to inspire and uplift audiences around the globe.

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