American Quilt artist, Bisa Butler
Bisa Butler is an artist who creates detailed quilts that look like paintings. Some art experts say her technicolor portraits of blacks are transforming the entire medium of quilt-making. Her first private museum exhibit is now on display in Chicago and was viewed by NPR's Cheryl Corley. Butler chooses his palette like a painter. Most of her palettes of her fabrics come from Ghana, her father's hometown or other African countries. A native of New Orleans, her mother grew up in Morocco. Erica Warren, associate curator of textiles at the Art Institute, said the museum has been collecting quilts since the early 20th century and has a collection of about 230 pieces. Warren says Butler's quilts resonate across the fields of painting, photography and textiles.
The intricacy of the quilts — the billowy dresses for four little girls, the layered fabrics that make up a background — astonish many of the gallery visitors who pull out their cameras for pictures.
Butler's artistry is part of a family tradition — a knowledge of textiles and clothing passed down from her mother and grandmother both accomplished seamstresses. Typically considered a craft, Butler agrees the art world is beginning to give quilting its due.
I like what she said in a magazine interview below.
SA: What do you want viewers to get out of your work?
BB: [My work] is a document of what my life is like as a black woman and the way I see things. So I made this portrait to show others how black people see themselves. It's an insider's view of a community that isn't always paying attention, a community that's deliberately mischaracterized, lied to, or ignored. I hope my legacy tells the truth about the black community.
She spends more than 200 hours per piece to create great works through precise, long-term research and hard work. Each color in her work has a meaning and has its own story. This is not a simple quilt or fabric art, but it feels like a life that is engraved by individual experiences.
Her work is beautiful and powerful. The characters in her quilt work are stuffed in her grandmother's old photo album. However, she summoned the characters of her past to the present day with modern sensibility and three-dimensional color and texture. And then it seems to remind us again how beautiful, sophisticated and cool black people are. There are black people among my friends too. I actually don't like the division of colors into black, white and yellow like this. Because, as Bisa Butler said, we are just human beings. Her views on life and philosophy were engraved on fabric and appeared in public. I really want to visit an exhibition of her work someday.
Myungja Anna Koh