Empowering the Presence of Kuumba: Celebrating Ohio History Through African American Fiber Art

  • Empowering the Presence of Kuumba: Celebrating Ohio History Through African American Fiber Art

    • 6 December 2023
    • Posted By Ellen Muse-Lindeman
    Date/Timing August 3 – October 17, 2024

    Empowering the Presence of Kuumba showcases a diverse range of fiber artworks, including quilts, woven pieces, and mixed-media installations. Each piece not only demonstrates the technical prowess and innovative spirit of the artists but also honors the rich history and cultural heritage of Ohio and its African American community. “We are honored to present this collection of work that highlights the contributions of the Kuumba Quilters,” said Monica Scott, Kuumba quilter. “This exhibition not only celebrates our artistry but also amplifies the stories and heritage of Ohio and its African American natives, which we are passionately preserving and sharing through our craft.” The exhibit will show artwork with themes ranging from the Underground Railroad to famous women from Ohio and the Kuumba Playlist, a celebration of Ohio musicians.

    The Kuumba Quilters are a distinguished group of African American fiber artists dedicated to the art of quilting. Their mission is to preserve and promote the rich heritage of quilting within the African American community, while also fostering innovation and contemporary expressions in fiber art. Kuumba Quilters was started in 2020 as a way for local fiber artists to connect and support one another by demonstrating different techniques, providing feedback on one another’s work and celebrating us. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all into our homes, we began to meet via video conferencing and was able to spread our membership across the miles. Now artist from Rhode Island to Iowa and from Ohio to Mississippi have become members of this art group. This will be the group’s 3rd art exhibit and the second at the Kennedy Arts Center.

    Featured Artists from Kuumba Quilters:
    Cynthia Caitlin– Known for her intricate quilting techniques that blend traditional patterns with contemporary themes
    Renee Wormack-Keels – An artist whose work explores themes of ancestry and resilience.
    Veronica Mays – Known for her depiction of the African-American experience
    Valerie Poitier– An innovative fiber artist combining textiles to create thought-provoking installations.
    Stefanie Rivers – Celebrated for his dynamic use of color in large-scale work.
    Monica Scott – An up and coming fiber artist that integrates hand quilting into her work.
    Carole G. Staples – Celebrated for her diverse artworks including images of African American women, shields and masks.
    Marvin Whistler – Creator of smaller works that integrate theme and color in his art.

    This group, named for “Kuumba” the sixth principle of Kwanzaa that celebrates creativity as a way to build and preserve a strong and vibrant community, and includes members from all across America and still continues to evolve and grow. Its members are a true hybrid of new and experienced artists, men and women, and those that have exhibited all over the country and other who have yet to exhibit.

    The Kuumba Quilters had their first group exhibit at KHAC in 2021.

    Curated by Carole Gary Staples, member artist

    Image: (from 2021 show) Creative Chaos by Stefanie Rivers, Mixed Media/Quilt

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