Artist Background - Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold is currently working as an artist and children's book illustrator. She is an African American female. She is actively involved in the feminist movement and she is a civil rights activist. She was born on October 8, 1930 in Harlem, New York. Her mother's name was Willie Posey, she was a fashion designer and dressmaker. Her father was Andrew Louis Jones Jr. He came from a long line of preachers. Faith combines both her mother and father's talents into her artwork and storytelling. Ms. Ringgold grew up in the Depression and Harlem Renaissance Era. Money and jobs were scarce. As a child she had severe asthma. She did not begin school until she was seven years old. She couldn't play outside like many other children in her neighborhood. She spent the majority of her time inside. Her mother would take her to visit museums. She also visited the Paramount where she saw many celebrities along with Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. When her asthma kept her home from school, she would occupy herself by making things. She would use paper, crayons, bits of cloth, needle, and thread. She finished High School and went onto the City College of New York. Faith developed her own style of art through mixing elements of formal European Art and African Art. Features in her art work were borrowed from the African aesthetic. It includes the Kuba, a tie-dyed material which uses four triangles to compose a square, and utilizing figures that have enlarged heads to portray humans with great wisdom.
Ms. Ringgold became an advocate for including works created by African American artists in museums. The art work was housed at the New York Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. In 1974, she also founded an organization African American artists, called Where We At. Ms. Ringgold was inspired by exhibition of Tibetian Tankas in Amsterdam. A Tanka is a Tibetian form of religious art. The images are framed in a fabric border. From this, she created the Feminist Series which came later when she began using quilting in her art work. Quilts have been a part of her family's tradition. Her grandmother Betsy Bingham made guilts. Betsy's mother, Susie Shannon, was a slave and stitched quilts for the plantation owners. The plantation was located in Florida. Stitching quilts was part of her house duties.
The tradition of quilting was passed down from her great grandmother. Ms. Ringgold's story quilts were made into patchwork frames. Her influence came from the Tibetian Tankas. Her first story quilt called, "Who's Afraid of Aunt Jemima?" It was created in 1983 as a way of intertwining the text and image. In her children's books, Faith combines autobiography and fantasy, along with the African American legend and history. Her first book,
, was published in 1991. Some of her other works include
Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky
Dinner at Aunt Connie's House
Mrs. Jones and Family
, 1986 and
Lesson # 4a
Using an overhead projector the students will be introduced to the various pattern of quilts made by people who helped in the Underground Railroad. They will learn about the Quilt Codes.
Teacher Resource for lesson will be a book called
Hidden In Plain View
by Jacqueline L. Tobin, Dr. Raymond G. Dobard.
Lesson # 4b - Hands On Activity
Along with art teacher, the students will re-create the patterns introduced to them on poster board. (1) class period.
Making a quilt that depicts the students own style and what they consider to be their safe haven. To be completed with Home Economic teacher.
Sewing needles (large for stitching)
Each student will cut out his/her own square. On a piece of notebook paper the children will sketch their safe haven. After they've completed it, then they'll transfer it onto the fabric. When all the squares are done, each student will be with a partner. Teacher will assign sections to be completed by each group. This assignment may take 3-4 weeks.
Prior to this lesson, the children have had lessons in mathematics on measurement. The lessons will include teaching line segments, area and perimeter.