In 2015, 43 of over 500 works belonging to celebrated writer, humanitarian and civil rights activist Maya Angelou went to auction. A highlight is Faith Ringgold‘s 1989 fabric, acrylic, and canvas composition ‘Maya’s Quilt of Life’, which depicts Angelou in a lush floral garden, surrounded by writing excerpts including ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’. The piece far exceeded its presale estimate of $150,000–$250,000, selling for $461,000, the highest individual price of any work in the sale.
‘Maya’s Quilt of Life’ ( acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics) was acquired by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas. The work was commissioned by Oprah Winfrey for Angelou’s 61st birthday and hung in her living room.
Ringgold is well-known for her painted story quilts, which unite a tradition of representational painting with the rich history of quilting in the African-American community. The border of ‘Maya’s Quilt of Life’ is made from pieced-together fabric that frames Angelou, who is surrounded by flowers in her signature patterned African dress and head wrap. Handwritten texts appear on both sides of the center panel with excerpts from Angelou’s written works: ‘Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie’ (1971), ‘Gather Together In My Name’ (1974), ‘The Heart of a Woman’ (1981), and ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ (1970).
Faith Ringgold has described her art by saying:
"My process is designed to give us 'colored folk' and women a taste of the American dream straight up. Since the facts don't do that too often, I decided to make it up."
A Fragile American Dream
AOC’s reflection on ‘Maya’s Quilt of Life’ comes when Oprah Winfrey is headed to Georgia on Thursday, where she will campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. The candidate is deadlocked in a tight race with current Georgia secretary of state Republican Brian Kemp.
Oprah urges her 42 million Twitter fans to head to the polls, sitting alongside her longtime friend, NBC News’ Maria Shriver in a new public service ad. The media mogul says about voting “Our country depends upon it.”
“We’re both independents. I don’t think a lot of people know that,” Winfrey — who endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election and called herself a “100 percent supporter” of his during the 2012 race — told the camera.
Oprah will join Stacey Abrams at two town hall conversations, according to BuzzFeed News. And like Will Farrell before her this week, Oprah will spend time knocking on doors.
Not only would Abrams become the first African American woman elected as a US governor, her Republican opponent Brian Kemp as already been found guilty of substantial voter suppression efforts in the state of Georgia. Kemp has once again put the state’s minority voters under siege, as the courts have stepped in yet again to insure a reasonably fair and honest election in the state.
President Obama will campaign with Abrams on Friday at the Forbes Arena at Morehouse College.
According to a report in The Root by Jason Johnson, who is also a professor of Communications and Political Science at Morgan State University, Brian Kemp recently posed for a selfie with his arm around a man named James J. Stachowiak, who has threatened the Abrams campaign specifically and Black women and children specifically. .
On several occasions Stachowiak has posted violent threats on social media calling for “patriots” to “shoot Black women and children on sight.”
The challenge for Americans on November 7 is to determine whether we want to follow the Republican party’s growing mandate for authoritarian rule in Trumplandia, a country governed by white men, or whether we want a more representative, democratic government.
Across America, millions of citizens are heeding the words of Maya Angelou, and will declare — one way or the other next Tuesday — the state of America’s soul, civic spirit and historical progress on the rights of all people, not only white people:
“If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone, or you’re too sick to be angry. You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger, yes. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”
AOC shares this commitment to never shut up, because the future of America depends upon truthful voices as white nationalism threatens to sweep our beloved country.