Circulars art

Year: 2020

Medium: Quilted Wax Print Fabric

Size: 29 x 18 in.

© 2020 Bisa Butler. Work purchased with funds provided by the Acquisition Trust.

"Wangari Maathai"

Bisa Butler (American , b.1975)

Part of the Recent Acquisition Highlights

Wangari maathai, bisa butler hi res copy

Wangari Maathai,” was commissioned for the cover of March 2020 TIME magazine. In honor of Women’s Month, the magazine selected women who should have been on the cover of TIME but were not, then found the most influential women artists of the moment to depict those women. Butler chose Wangari Maathai, a renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist. In 2004, she was the first woman of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Maathai also founded the Green Belt Movement, an indigenous, grassroots, nongovernmental organization based in Nairobi, Kenya, that focuses on environmental conservation and community development. Her legacy has been a major force to the world of conservation and continues to inspire activism today.

“Wangari Maathai” is conceptually strong, using fabrics from the textile manufacturer Vlisco’s important Congo project City of Joy, which provides food and shelter to women ostracized by their villages for being victims of war, rape and sexual abuse. To help these survivors heal from past trauma, City of Joy teaches them traditional Dutch wax fabric-making techniques, with the assurance of a job and money to support themselves and their children. Butler has used the fabric designed by these women not only to depict Maathai but to emphasize the importance of community and the sacredness of our planet.

About Bisa Butler

Bisa Butler is an acclaimed fiber artist who portrays mostly unknown African American subjects entirely in quilt, giving them a nobility, a voice and a place in history. She is an alumna of Howard University where she studied under professors involved in AfriCOBRA art movement of the 1960s.

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