to Nelson Mandela
Hilda Freeman Vest
Cotton with polyester batting
49" x 51"
Collection of the artist
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved
“Fascinated by African fabrics since discovering the
joys of quilting, I was auditioning scraps of brillliant colors
when news of Nelson Mandela's release from prison flooded the
airwaves. How timely, I decided, it would be to fashion the King's
X pattern I had already chosen into a humble "monument"
dedicated to his survival after twenty-eight years as a political
prisoner. African symbols were incorporated into the quilting
and I proudly embroidered MANDELA FREED 2-11-90.” Vest purchased
the scraps of fabric used in this quilt from a vendor of African
clothing at the African World Festival. “I gave him $30
and weeks later, he must have cleaned out his studio because he
sent me a box of African scraps which included pieces of garments,
such as sleeves, etc.”
This quilt has appeared in exhibitions at the Museum of African
American History in Detroit (1995); Juneteenth Celebration in
Oberlin, Ohio; Detroit Public Library (2005); Greenfield Village,
Dearborn; and, in 1996, took a second place ribbon at the Senior
Olympics, Detroit Parks and Recreation.