Sew fine: Art inspired by patchwork quilts in Myrtle Ave. shop-window exhibit
Artists in Clinton Hill exhibit take quilting as inspiration
By Lore Croghan / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
This is African-American quilting like you’ve never seen it before.
A new Myrtle Ave. shop-window exhibit takes the time-honored traditions of quilting as its inspiration.
But many artists in the Clinton Hill show opening Friday never touched a needle and thread to make their eye-catching works.
“African-American patchwork quilts are about storytelling — and so is my collage,” said Steven Mosley, 26, of Bedford-Stuyvesant who pieced together paintings of haunting faces on newspaper clippings, comic books and the cover of an Egyptian history book.
Next to each face the message “I AM A MAN” blazes in capital letters.
His patchwork — which is hanging in Miracle’s Barber Shop window — commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and protestors in the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike whose picket signs said “I AM A MAN.”
“I wanted to honor my ancestors as I do in all my artwork,” he said.
His dad R. Steve Mosley also has a work on display — a “quilt” made of vivid stained glass. It is decorated with symbols from real-life quilts that served as secret signals to guide runaway slaves in the Underground Railroad.
Other artists made quilt-inspired works from photographs, felt or yarn and thumbtacks.
The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership picked the nine works to liven up Myrtle Ave. merchants’ storefronts between Classon and Vanderbilt Aves.
“We’re putting art work right on the sidewalk so everyone can enjoy it,” said deputy director Meredith Almeida.
The storefront show is also meant to give emerging artists like Mosley a welcome chance to exhibit their work.
Curator Daonne Huff — whose family cherishes 10 quilts her grandmother made — picked one traditional quilt for the month-long exhibit she named “A Patchwork Story.”
Arlene Jones made her intricate queen-sized quilt “Afrika on Point” of fabrics she found during travels to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.
The retired Far Rockaway teacher was inspired to learn quilting because her mother started making quilts right before she died but never had a chance to finish any of her works.
The exhibit is part of a series of cultural events for Black History month — a patchwork of activities including dinner with wine tasting and a night of short films.
See www.myrtleavenue.org for further info.