×

‘And Still We Rise’ quilts make historic N.H. debut

  • Chas. E. Martin

  • The Little Rock Nine by Sandra Noble. Courtesy

  • The Griot’s Voice by Peggie Hartwell. Courtesy

  • General George Washington Welcomes the Services of Slaves and Free Blacks by Connie Horne. Courtesy


Wednesday, August 29, 2018 1:1PM

From Sept. 1 to Oct. 14, an exhibit of 44 stunning story quilts narrating 400 years of the African-American experience will open concurrently at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough and the Canaan Street Meeting House in Canaan.

“And Still We Rise,” an exhibit of beautifully handcrafted quilts created by members of the Women of Color Quilters Network and organized by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, has been touring the country to wide acclaim under the coordination of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Cincinnati Art Museum.

Its New Hampshire debut, copresented by the Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center and the Canaan Historic District, opens a tour of the New England states to be coordinated by the Mariposa.

The 44 quilts in this exhibit narrate the history of the African-American experience, capturing the stories of freedom’s heroes. By exploring events of four centuries through the fiber artistry of women of color, the quilts bear witness to and relate perspectives that written history has often neglected.

The quilts’ topics range from slavery to school desegregation, from the Underground Railroad to the raid at Harpers Ferry, and include such contemporary subjects as Hurricane Katrina and the formation of the first all-black female flight crew.

The result, according to Mariposa Museum Director Karla Hostetler, is an exhibit that combines some of the finest visual art and quilt art being made at this time with a nuanced exploration of an American history that is still unfolding.

“This exhibit touches the eye, mind, and heart,” Hostetler said,“whether you are a quilter, an art lover, an activist, or simply drawn to American history and recent events.”

Hostetler said that while her team is thrilled to exhibit 10 extraordinary quilts at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough, they are especially excited by the partnership with the Canaan Historic District, and the opportunity for the quilts to be experienced in situ at a site with strong ties to African American history in New Hampshire.

Thirty-four quilts will be installed at the Canaan Street Meeting House, an historic building in a town that made history in 1834 for creating the second high school to admit students of color. The decision to create Noyes Academy was debated and made in the Meeting House, and 14 African-American students made the arduous trip to Canaan facing restrictions on many forms of public transportation – to enroll alongside 28 white students.

Ten quilts will be on display at the Mariposa in Peterborough and in a new adjacent display area called The Cultural Cocoon on
Main Street in Peterborough. The Mariposa hopes the dual locations of this exhibit will encourage people to visit both Peterborough and Canaan during the beautiful foliage season.

The Women of Color Quilters Network was founded in 1985 by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, an internationally-known quilt artist, to foster and preserve quiltmaking among women of color. The network has exhibited throughout the U.S., and in Japan, England, South Africa, Italy, and Australia. The average age of members is 72.

The Mariposa Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit mariposamuseum.org.

To book a tour or appointment of the exhibit in Canaan, please contact Donna Dunkerton at (603) 523-7960. John Bergeron can also help to open the exhibit during the week by calling (603) 523-9621 or e-mailing bergeronjh@gmail.com.