Happy Birthday, Faith Ringgold, Boundary-Breaker, Black Artist and Arts Promoter!
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From the African American Registry
On this date in 1930, Faith Ringgold was born in New York City. She is an African-American artist who has spent her artistic career breaking out of boundaries and clearing spaces for African-American creativity, especially that of women.
Raised in Harlem, Ringgold earned a BA in art and education in 1955 and an MFA in 1959 at City College, New York. Dissatisfied with the traditional high art training that she received, Ringgold reeducated herself by studying African art, reading the work of Black Arts Movement authors, and participating in the growing protest for a civil rights revolution in America. Paintings from this period blend an African-inspired aesthetic of geometric shapes and flat, shadowless perspective with potent political and social protest.
Ringgold has been an outspoken critic of racial and gender prejudice in the art world. In the early 1970s, Ringgold organized protests against The Whitney Museum of American Art and other major museums for excluding the works of blacks and women. Ringgold’s expression of black women’s experience is captured in a combination of quilting and narrative text. She transformed one of her quilts into a children’s book, “Tar Beach,” that won the 1992 Caldecott Honor Book Award and the Coretta Scott King award.
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