What That Quilt Knows About Me explores the deeply personal and emotional power associated with the experience of making and living with quilts. The exhibition’s title conveys the idea that quilts have the capacity for “knowing” or containing information about the human experience. Reflecting on this sentiment, the exhibition presents quilts as collections of intimate stories.
Spanning from the 19th through 21st centuries, the works on view will reveal a range of poignant and sometimes unexpected biographies. From a pair of enslaved sisters in antebellum Kentucky to a convalescent British soldier during the Crimean War, the exhibition explores stories associated with both the makers and recipients of the works. On a quilt top from the 1890s, we find a surface bursting with narratives; in an example by Hystercine Rankin, a grid of small vignettes depicts scenes of family life defined by faith and toil.
Image: Detail from Untitled Family History Quilt / courtesy of American Folk Art Museum