Harriet Tubman Quilt
This quilt, a 3 x 5 foot portrait of Harriet Tubman, is a collaboration with renowned quilt artist Sheila Frampton-Cooper.
It was on display at Schweinfurth Art Center in their annual group show Quilts = Art = Quilts from October 29, 2016 through January 8, 2017.
The quilt was on previously exhibited at Visions Art Museum in a group exhibit entitled “Expressions in Equality” from January 17 through April 4, 2015.
Blake Chamberlain is proud to be from the Fingerlakes region in central New York State - a historical hotbed of social reform, and home to many heroes of abolitionism and women's rights. Being from this area has led to a nearly lifelong fascination with the amazing life of Harriet Tubman, who spearheaded the Underground Railroad and, among many other things, personally rescued 70 people from slavery before settling in Chamberlain’s hometown of Auburn, New York.
The quilt “Harriet Tubman” was painted in a style of portraiture meant to enact a symbolic pause for reflection - her facial features are comprised of colorful shapes, lines, and patterns. This element of geometric abstraction within the representational works to pull the eye deeper into the individual parts and finer detail of the whole portrait and facilitate a pause which is meant to invoke both reverence and celebration of Tubman. The quilting was conceived minimally and to accentuate the patterning of the painting.
The piece was my first large painting on fabric. The quilting was done by a masterful quilt-maker and the "Expressions in Equality" curator, Sheila Frampton-Cooper -- who invited me to participate in the show. It was an amazing opportunity for me to do something out of the ordinary and to collaborate with an artist I greatly admire. I enjoyed painting on cotton fabric immensely and look forward working with painting on fabric in the future, and I even hope to complete pieces with my own sewing.
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