Faith Ringgold (American, born 1930)
22 in. x 29 3/8 in. (55.88 cm x 74.61 cm)
Gift of Julie L. McGee, Class of 1982, 2011.33.2. © 2021 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York
Made after the quilt painting of the same name, The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles depicts several prominent African American women constructing a sunflower-patterned quilt. Standing among a field of sunflowers, the women who hold the quilt are relatively well known in American history – Madam CJ Walker, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Ella Baker. Willia Marie Simone, the fictional ninth figure in the lower left, is included as a young woman who journeys throughout Europe to become an artist. In this lithograph, artist Faith Ringgold celebrates the contributions of Black women to abolition, civil rights, and women’s rights while centering the collective, traditionally female art of quilting. Black women since the nineteenth century have participated in the tradition of quilting, resourcefully creating elaborate and abstract quilt compositions.