“You can’t wait for someone to say who you are, you need to write it and paint it and DO it” – Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold, artist/writer has a retrospective touring exhibition currently at the Serpentine Gallery in London right now – but ’twas not ever thus. When she began taking her paintings to galleries in New York in 1960s, she was rejected constantly – not only because she was coloured but also as a woman. She actually feels that she experienced more discrimination as a woman artist than as a black one.
This brief video will give you a taste of her vivacious, smart character:
(Youtube Video by MAKERS: an initiative by PBS and AOL)
But for a longer discussion of her life and work, an excellent arts documentary feature on her aired on Uk BBC last night. It is fronted by the respected BBC arts programme maker, Alan Yentob, as part of the Imagine series, year 2019 Episode 5 “Faith Ringgold: Tell it like it is.” (Currently available to view on BBC i-player and probably will be aired via BBC America or online at some point.)
Her story is fascinating. It is almost unbelieveable that this huge body of work, painted during the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights years has lain in storage. Although Faith was eventually able to get solo exhibitions, the art critics loved them, but people were slow to buy – at the time it was not common to exhibit black women artists still less to purchase/collect their work. She simply packed them away.
As a maker, are you waiting for someone to recognise your skill and work – or are you just getting on with making it? (See opening quote by Faith Ringgold).