TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Friday, January 9, 2009

Adriene Cruz Sends Protection to Obama and His Family at the Quilts for Obama Show

Warrior of Light/Shield for Obama
Quilted Talisman by Artist Adriene Cruz
Photo by Art Alexander

Last Summer I posted about what a pleasure it was to have Oregon artist, Adriene Cruz, as a guest artist in one of Paducah's Lowertown galleries. Her beauty translates itself like a mirror reflection into textured works of art, reaching back deeply into her roots and soul. I was pleased to receive a notice from Adriene with a press release (below) saying that one of her works (shown above) was selected for the Quilts for Obama show.

Congratulations, Adriene!

Adriene Cruz, Oregon Artist

Here is the press release (posted with permission from Adriene):

Quilts for Obama:

An Exhibit Celebrating

the Inauguration

of our 44th President

Roland L. Freeman,

Guest Curator

January 11 – January 31, 2009
at The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
801 K Street, NW (at Mount Vernon Square);
Washington, DC 20001 202.882.7764
Gallery Hours: 10 AM-5 PM, Tuesday-Sunday
(Closed Inauguration Day, 1/20/09)

Adriene Cruz of Portland, Oregon is one of the Master Quilters whose work is included in this special celebratory exhibit at The Historical Society of Washington, DC. The Historical Society and the Women of Color Quilters Network have partnered with The Group for Cultural Documentation (TGCD) to present Quilts for Obama: An Exhibit Celebrating the Inauguration of our 44th President, opening Sunday, January 11 and continuing through January 31, 2009.

The exhibit contains approximately 60 art and interpretive quilts made to celebrate the inauguration and welcome the Obama family to Washington: 44 by master quilt makers from across the US, along with others honoring the Obama family from Kenya, Hawaii, Kansas (a quilt from the historical society of Augusta, KS), and South Carolina (a quilt from Georgetown, SC made by Mrs. Carrie Nelson, the oldest living member of Michelle Robinson Obama’s family). Adriene Cruz’s quilt, “Warrior of Light/Shield for Obama,” is a quilted talisman offering prayers and blessings of protection and peace for Obama and his family.

Guest curator Roland L. Freeman is a folklorist and photo-documenter whose career began during the Civil Rights movement. Since the 1960’s he has been documenting the continuity of traditional African-American cultural practices, and is currently a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Freeman has a special passion for quilts and quilt makers, and over the past four decades has crisscrossed the US, being the first to document the world of African-American quilters, culminating in a national tour and book called Communion of the Spirits, published in 1996 which also features Adriene’s work. He described the genesis of the Quilts for Obama exhibit as follows:

"This past November 4th, I was glued to the television watching the election returns, as were millions in this country and around the world. Around 11 pm, when it was announced that Barack Obama was the President-Elect of the United States, my emotions overwhelmed me. I could hardly speak. Then came the amazing images of worldwide jubilation. Almost immediately, my mind started drifting back to other seminal events that for me were just as emotionally life-changing: my participation in the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery; the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech; and my joining the Poor People’s Campaign as a photographer to cover the Mule Train caravan as it traveled from Marks, MS, to Washington, DC. In my lifetime, I’ve known three black men whose messages of peace, love, and racial harmony profoundly moved the masses: Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. King said, “We shall overcome;” Nelson Mandela forgave his oppressors; and now Barack Obama has inspired Americans to come together for change for a better tomorrow. I asked myself what I could do to help celebrate this victory and it occurred to me that a commemorative quilt exhibit was just the thing. And so it is."

For more information on the exhibit please visit The Group for Cultural Documentation’s web site, www.tgcd.org, or call TGCD at 202-882-7764.


  1. What a wonderful idea! This is like crowning an ancient king.

  2. I am so delighted that adrienne's quilt is included in this show...she has been a major favorite of mine since I first read about her and saw her quilts.

  3. This is a beautiful piece...it truly sings! I will have to dig out Roland Freeman's book and look at her quilts in it as well as her web site.
    Thanks for keeping us informed.

  4. Very cool, what a beautiful piece! Thank you for sharing it with us!


“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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