STITCHING STORIES: Thread, Needle, Narrative. The Quilts of Ellen M. Blalock
November 10, 2018 to January 12, 2019
Syracuse artist Ellen M. Blalock is an accomplished multi-disciplinary artist who is best known for her photography, video and fiber art. The exhibit will include a broad array of her quilting work from the past 20 years and aims to include two new quilts that she is currently creating as part of new series of work dealing with mental health in the African American community.
Blalock learned to sew at a young age often making clothes for herself and her family. In 1998 she made her first quilts when asked to create an exhibition for Syracuse’s Community Folk Art Gallery about her recently completed “Family History Project.” Having just finished a family oral history project she decided to tell her own family’s stories through quilts. Blalock connects with the rich history of fiber arts found throughout the African Diaspora and her work is part of the African American quilting tradition of story quilts. Since her first large quilting project, consisting of 25 quilts in 1998, Blalock has continued quilting throughout her artistic career, taking commissions, and creating work for sale and exhibition.
In 2012 Blalock used quilting as a main component in a large-scale installation she created for the Everson Museum’s 2012 Biennial exhibition (“The Other New York”). The installation called “CAGE” featured three 8-foot pieces, quilted on both sides, and displayed so viewers could walk around the work. The installation, which also featured video, centered on homicide in the Syracuse African American community. Blalock wrote, “CAGE is a memorial for victims: the community, the families, the murdered, and the incarcerated, to remember, to search for truth and to forgive.”
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