Award-winning American textile artist Bisa Butler is preparing for an art show in New York City, returning to the Big Apple for the first time in three years. Taking place at Jeffrey Deitch, the upcoming exhibition “The World Is Yours” will be held from May 6–June 30, 2023.
Inspired by the lyrics from Nas’s song The World Is Yours, Butler explained her intent behind the title. “I am saying to all people who may have been mistreated through acts of prejudice and racism that this world also belongs to them. In fact, this world belongs to all of us, and it always has. The statement “The World Is Yours” encourages people to stay the course and never stop trying to create the life they envision.”
Continuing, Butler said: “African Americans have overcome tremendous odds to build their communities and customs despite pervasive obstacles, and I want the new generation to keep up that fight. In the 1800s, Sojourner Truth said: ‘I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.’ If she, a woman born into bondage and then escaped with a small child, could shine a light on the evils of slavery and inspire people to action, then we have no choice but to do the same.”
Butler’s vibrant textile quilts capture the souls, personalities, and humanity of Black men, women, and children, offering an alternative portrayal of the Black experience while celebrating the American popular art of quilting.
In her new body of work, Butler collaborates with contemporary photographers such as Gordon Parks, Janette Beckman, and Jamel Shabazz to conquer the spirit of their subjects on film, and then reinterpret their vision through textiles. Butler approaches the medium from a painterly perspective, introducing elements of painting and photography to create textured surfaces, vibrant patterns, and saturated colors. Although entirely made of textiles, her quilts expand the parameters of traditional painting techniques.
Butler’s quilts are situated within a lineage of revered textile artists such as Faith Ringgold, Romare Bearden, Harriet Powers, and the quilters of Gee’s Bend, who transformed the traditional craft into a medium that could illuminate the experiences of African Americans.
The World Is Yours is Bisa Butler’s first solo exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch.
Learn more by visiting deitch.com.
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