Artists use quilts to give young black girls a voice

Girls Tell Their Stories With quilts

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Hamilton Glass and Austin Miles are partnering with “Girls for a Change,” coaching the art of storytelling through quilts with their “In Plain Sight” workshop.

“In Plain Sight was inspired by the Underground Railroad quotes,” Miles said.

During the Underground Railroad, slaves once used quilts to communicate with others to escape to freedom, and now Miles and Glass want to use that same idea to give today’s young black girls a voice.

“These girls created 2x2 pieces of art where they’re telling their stories through pattern making and quilt making,” Miles said.

The quilts gives the ladies a voice to tackle social issues they may feel passionate about.

“We had to choose what does being a girl means to us, and I put black girls are number one, and I put pictures of black girls that have accomplished their dreams,” 11-year-old Symia Ortiz said. “It’s important to share your story so that you can get recognized, and you can accomplish your dream by just sharing your story.”

Ortiz said the quilts allow people to see them for who they are and not judge them by the color of their skin.

“To me it means I don’t have to be like anybody. I have to be myself and I’ll be unique for just who I am,” Ortiz said.

Austin said the quilts prepare black girls for the real world, and prepares the world for black girls.

“Some of them are sharing experiences, some of them are sharing memories, hopes, dreams and aspirations,” Miles said. “If you say, ‘So you’re smart,’ what does smart look like visually? So we tried to challenge them that way.”

The display is currently open to the public at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

Along with their work, this Girl Action Team has an opportunity for others to create an art installation that will be showcased in 1708 Gallery’s Annual InLight exhibition.

You can add two prompts that will be used to create a quilt of light. The prompts are an adjective that describes a black girl or write a wish that will bring light to a black girl.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.