Saturday, February 17, 2007

Event: Black History Month Celebration

Tuesday, February 27

7:00 p.m.

Britannia Library

1661 Napier Drive

Admission is free

All are welcome

In April, the quilts from tiny Gee’s Bend, Alabama will visit Canada for the first time, travelling to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Here, they will be linked together and celebrated along with work from quilt makers of North Preston, a small African Canadian community just outside Halifax.

In October, 2005 some of the quilt makers visited Vancouver along with filmmaker, Matt Arnett. This Tuesday, February 27 at 7pm., the Britannia Public Library will profile the quilters and their abstract art in the half hour film, “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend”.

This film takes us right into the homes and backyards of the quilt makers. We’ll see: “Some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced. Imagine Matisse and Klee ..arising not from rarefied Europe, but from the caramel soil of the rural South in the form of women, descendants of slaves when Gee’s Bend was a plantation….” ( Michael Kimmelman, New York Times).

We’ll be invited to see the quilts and hear the voices of a group of women who have been singing gospel and quilting together for over 38 years – using just what their mothers’ gave them – needles, thimbles, and strong senses of design and survival. Mary Lee Bendolph says “ I had to do what I could to keep my family warm”. Her daughter Essie Lee Bendolph tells us I had a brother go to college off the quilts my mom made and sewed.”

Now, art galleries and museums across North America are giving us the opportunity to appreciate these abstract minimalist quilts with “colours that take your attention away from everything else.”

Like Gee’s Bend and North Preston, Commercial Drive is also a small artistic community, albeit an intensely” hip” urban one. So, we’ll be celebrating these quilts loudly, proudly and diversely in many multi media and ethnic styles; that is - in the style “the drive” is accustomed to. Last week, local poet and quilt artist , Diane Wood installed a selection of miniature quilts created by the Carnegie Center Chinese Seniors’ sewing circle in the library’s display case. They’ll be your first welcome as you enter the library’s foyer on Tuesday night. Next, you’ll be greeted by Ola Tawose (see the picture below) with a poem she composed for the quilters and the evening entitled “Hands”. Then you’ll be treated to the exquisite vocals of local chanteuse, Alita Delray accompanied by bassist, James Forrest. They’ll serenade you for half and hour as a prelude to the half hour “Quilts’” film.

Following the film , Dr. Henry Dent a local jazz guitarist , originally from New York will pay his dues to the ladies with some very smooth jazz guitar. Then, local poets, Bonnie Nish and Sita Carboni of Pandora’s Collective will take the stage. Next up, will be Franci Louann with “Black is For”…a poem inspired by Mennonite quilters. Dr. Dent will return to center stage to finish off the evening while you mix and mingle with our special quest artists ..or write your own poem …or design your own quilt. .....

If the spirit moves you..and it probably will.

For more information about this event,

call the Britannia Branch at 604-665-2222.

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