Two exhibits at the Anacostia Community Museum

I recently made my way to see two wonderful textile art exhibits that perfectly exemplify the social value of hand work. Both feature women working in the world of textiles to improve their communities and themselves. By taking needle to thread, they pass down hundreds of years of stories that infuse the world around them.
First I made my way in to the quilt exhibit, “Home Sewn: Quilts from the Lower Mississippi Valley”. This exhibit featured the art of traditional quilting, by a group of women in Mississippi, who picked up sewing needles as a way to connect to their shared past. The four quilts on display are representations of the art of generations of women who quilted first for utilitarian purposes, and later for art. These projects brought people together, from all segments of the community, to sit down and quilt together in traditional quilting bees and related events. Several of the women from this area have been recognized for their art, on a national level. Make sure to stop and watch the video that contains fieldwork and interviews of a few of these remarkable women.
Next, I went in to the main gallery, to see “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence”, featuring the work of a group of bead artists, from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Started as an artist community in 1999, the group is open to anyone willing to learn the art of beading. The women artisans are able to make a living by selling their work. More important than the art is the community that these women have created for themselves, as they came together as sisters, to create works of art that dazzle the senses. The most stunning part of the exhibition is the “African Crucifixion,” a large altar piece from what has to be the luckiest church in South Africa. It took six women over a year to make, and was their greatest commission to date. Taking up a large portion of one wall, this would make the whole trip worthwhile, on its own.
These two exhibits will be on display through September 21st, and are a must-go addition to your summer travels. The museum also offers some unique events and classes related to the exhibits, so don’t forget to check the events calendar to see what is coming up. For more information on these and other exhibits at the Anacostia Community Museum, click here.