Monday, July 18, 2011

Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India at the MoAD

 My grandmother used to make quilts but nothing like this. These are gorgeous, intricate works of art and if they were painted by men...well, you know the drill. It's only been in the last decade that quilts and other textile works, mostly made by women, have been looked at seriously. Now many are collector's items! If the art critic can extend the meaning of art to "conceptual art" and "installations," then there is no reason why these quilts shouldn't be considered works of art. For one thing, they are far more beautiful than much contemporary art and the level of skill is far higher.

But my mind boggles at the realization that these were made for everyday use. These stunning quilts are created out of the philosophy of "waste not, want not," in cultures where nothing goes to waste. We could learn a lot from them.

As part of its exploration of how traditional practices are adapted over decades throughout the African Diaspora, the Museum of the African Diaspora's (MoADSF) current exhibit is yet another example of textile art made by women.

The stunning, colorful, patchwork quilts are known as kawandi and are made only by craftswomen living in the little known Siddi communities of Africans in India.

Continue reading on Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India at the MoADSF - San Francisco Museum |

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