New exhibition uses quilts to encourage healing and storytelling in face of racism

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New exhibition uses quilts to encourage healing and storytelling in face of racism

MEDIA CONTACT

Cody Hefner, (513) 608-5777, chefner@nurfc.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New exhibition uses quilts to encourage healing and storytelling in face of racism

We Are the Story opens at the Freedom Center July 2

CINCINNATI, OH (June 10, 2021) — The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is turning to a familiar but unexpected item to confront racism in America. Over 50 quilts will be on display as part of We Are the Story: A Visual Response to Racism, a new exhibition organized and curated by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi courtesy of the Women of Color Quilters Network and part of Story Quilts, a program initiative created by Kathy Wade. The exhibition opens July 2 at the Freedom Center.

We Are the Story: A Visual Response to Racism showcases 53 quilts highlighting the history of civil rights, police brutality and racism in America. Dr. Mazloomi curated the exhibition in response to the murder of George Floyd in 2020. The quilts present an alternative visual media to approach sensitive social issues embedded in American memory, such as race, class, gender and shared cultural trauma, in a way that emphasizes storytelling and encourages healing.

Cracked Justice. Quilt by Carolyn Crump of Houston, TX.

“As an artist and curator, I firmly believe art has the capacity to touch the spirit, engage, educate and heal in ways that words alone cannot,” said Dr. Mazloomi, artist, historian, author and curator of We Are the Story: A Visual Response to Racism. “I cried for days after seeing the video of George Floyd’s murder. African Americans are crying out for fairness, justice, equality and for protection from brutal police. In response to that cry, and to help educate the public on brutality, inequities and racism in America, I was inspired to curate We Are the Story.”

Quilting is one of America’s most powerful art forms, with its widespread appeal and association with comfort, warmth and healing. Rather than reading history, viewers relate to it visually and can feel the passion, hope and heartache stitched into every piece of fabric. The artwork prompts a dialogue between the artist and the viewer, challenging existing notions and posing questions that can serve to move the discussion of racial reconciliation forward.

“Quilts and quilting are especially important to African American culture, because the art form was historically one of the few mediums accessible to marginalized groups to tell their own story, to provide warmth for their families and to empower them with a voice,” added Dr. Mazloomi.

The exhibition is part of Story Quilts, a program initiative created by Kathy Wade that engages quilters to share their truths from the patchwork of their lives, weaving stories to create a tapestry of reconciliation and resilience.

We Are the Story: A Visual Response to Racism is free for Freedom Center Members and as an add-on to general admission for non-Members for $5 per adult and $3 per child. The exhibition is free for all guests on Wednesdays and Sundays, courtesy of the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation and Learning Through Art, Inc.

We Are the Story: A Visual Response to Racism is sponsored by the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation and Learning Through Art, Inc.

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About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org

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