bisa butler

These absolutely stunning (and meticulous!) textile portraits are the work of New Jersey based artist Bisa Butler. Who are all of these colorful people? I’ll pass this over to Bisa:

“In my work, I am telling the story— this African American side — of the American life. History is the story of men and women, but the narrative is controlled by those who hold the pen.

My community has been marginalized for hundreds of years. While we have been right beside our white counterparts experiencing and creating history, our contributions and perspectives have been ignored, unrecorded, and lost. It is only a few years ago that it was acknowledged that the White House was built by slaves. Right there in the seat of power of our country African Americans were creating and contributing while their names were lost to history.

My subjects are African Americans from ordinary walks of life who may have sat for a formal family portrait or may have been documented by a passing photographer. Like the builders of the White House, they have no names or captions to tell us who they were.”

Beautiful. Clearly, I have to get Bisa on the podcast in September when the new season starts, not only because of that powerful artist statement, but also because of this interview she did with Vogue earlier this year. Go read it… I love the reason she transitioned from painting to textiles.

Bisa’s work is available via Claire Oliver Gallery, New York.

comments (8)

  1. Michael Semyan /// 06.10.2020 /// 7:16pm

    Great works of art.

  2. Gillian Park /// 06.11.2020 /// 12:51am

    I just love these. I wish I had seen them before I retired from my job teaching art and design…they would have been a terrific resource to inspire my students. I’ll need to let my teacher friends know about your beautiful work!
    I love the rich colours, the patterns, the people and the composition. So impressive.

  3. lesley barnes /// 06.11.2020 /// 11:19am

    really fantastic , with a wide range of colour ,the composition is something else . such talent .keep going.

  4. Eldonna /// 06.12.2020 /// 7:21pm

    Stunningly beautiful.

  5. Debra Caddell /// 06.13.2020 /// 12:49am

    These are so beautiful and exciting! I’ve never seen facial expressions done so well in Textile art. It appears most, if not all, of the fabrics are African American designed as well. I would Love to see these in person!!

  6. the jealous curator /// 06.18.2020 /// 2:03pm

    me too!

  7. Margaret Hall /// 06.26.2020 /// 5:51am

    These portraits are outstanding. I don’t think I have ever seen quilted portraits before – the detail and design are so beautiful .

  8. the jealous curator /// 06.26.2020 /// 6:51pm

    she’s going to be on the podcast when it returns in the fall… CAN’T wait!

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