Self-Taught Genius

Freedom Quilt, Jessie B. Telfair, 1983

Freedom Quilt, Jessie B. Telfair, 1983

Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum is the big summer show this year at the Saint Louis Art Museum. This traveling exhibit opened here just this week. We saw it on Free Friday, because the SLAM-mer is “dedicated to art and free to all”, at least on Fridays. It was an interesting show, full of many eclectic works. I chose this quilt as the graphic for this post, because of its strong, vibrant colors, the colors of the American flag and for its message. The artist has successfully invoked the power of a single repeated word. A word that has reverberated throughout the history of the United States, from slavery, through the Freedom Marches of the sixties, to Ferguson today. Telfair lost her job in a school kitchen as a result of registering to vote. The bitterness of that experience still burned years later and inspired this quilt.

5 thoughts on “Self-Taught Genius

  1. Wait…what? She registered to vote, and as a result lost her job?? Seriously, some school decided that onenof their food service employees did not deserve the right to vote?!?!

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