Michigan Quilt Project
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Quilts and Human Rights

Quilts Honor Champions For Human Rights, cont.

Beth  
Nelson Mandela's Presence
Meena Schaldenbrand
Plymouth, Michigan
July 2004
Cotton, decorative thread; thread sketched by machine bobbinwork
20” x 24”
Collection of Michigan State University Museum
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved

This quilt was made for the Michigan Quilt Artist Invitational whose theme was “Exploring Africa.” Of this quilt, the artist says, “I greatly admire Mr. Mandela and decided to draw his portrait free motion on the sewing machine.”

   
 

Hilda Freeman Vest was interviewed by Marsha MacDowell on January 21, 2008 at the Michigan State University Museum. On that day, the Quilts and Human Rights exhibit was part of a campus-wide celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

Tribute to Nelson Mandela
Hilda Freeman Vest
Detroit, Michigan
1990
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.

 

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