Ringgold is a multidisciplinary figure who contributed to the Harlem Renaissance and development of modern American culture. Through the use of her experimental quilt paintings, from the very beginning of her career Faith Ringgold has always been able to transform her figurative painting style into a message of protest reproducing a narrative of sorts, evoking the culture of the Black American community.
The exhibition features one of the artist’s best known series, and explores a thematic vision of the political and social changes that occurred in the U.S. during the contemporary era: the first section of the exhibition displays the artist’s very first paintings and murals dedicated to her so called “super-realist” personal technique, a style of art that translates into a denunciation and social critique against the racial and gender divisions that took place since the 1960s. During this phase, the artist’s works show autobiographical references, including her advocacy for collective causes, such as those in support of the Back Panther Party and the release of activist Angela Davis.
The other part of the exhibition delves into the non-Western craft traditions with displays of “soft sculptures”, translated as quilts used as pliant canvases adorned with woven fabric borders, inspired by Tibetan thangkas. The quilts tell a story, and they are a true testament to the testimony of a personal retrospective of the artist’s life, as well as fragments of modern history, social conditions and cultural transformations of the Harlem Renaissance. The exhibition is presented as a whole selection of artworks which represent the professional and personal biography of an artist who has always fought for a better future, combining both polyphonic narratives and the emancipation of African-American culture of the 20th century.