Our cover this month, Somebody Stole My Broken Heart (24 in. by 18 in.) by Faith Ringgold sold for $20,000 at Swann Auction Galleries’ recent African-American Fine Art sale in New York City on April 5, 2018. With a fashion designer mother and avid storyteller father, it’s quite obvious that Ringgold inherited the creative gene. An artist and social activist, Ringgold is best known for her unique narrative quilts—a medium that’s the perfect mix of her parents’ talents.
Despite her predisposition to become an artist, Ringgold was forced to obtain a degree in art education rather than art because, at the time, women were prohibited from enrolling in certain majors at City College of New York, where she was to study. Ringgold wasn’t discouraged however, and on completion of her degree, she set out to travel extensively, which later had a profound influence on her work.
Ringgold didn’t let the experience of growing up in an oppressive society hold her back from leaving a mark on the world. An active demonstrator and supporter of the Civil Rights movement, she also made statements through her art. In particular, her quilts visually interpreted stories of her life and others in the African-American community. Her best-known work, Tar Beach, a quilt that tells the story of a young African-American girl growing up in Harlem, was adapted in 1991 into an award-winning children’s book. According to ARTnews, the quilt itself has been owned by the Guggenheim museum in New York City since she created it in 1988 but has never been put on exhibit there. Fortunately, many of her other works can be found on view at museums throughout the country.