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“The Fabric of Diaspora: Memory, Portraiture, and Empowerment in the Quilts of Bisa Butler”

March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Speaker: Nancy Demerdash-Fatemi

Presentation Description

This paper examines the complex photorealist quilting practice of the contemporary African-American artist Bisa Butler by raising questions about her works’ implications for African diasporic connectivity and memory. It positions her praxis in dialogue with a range of artistic interlocutors who also grapple with questions of memory and marginalized histories, such as Faith Ringgold, Romare Bearden, Yinka Shonibare, Amy Sherald, and Kehinde Wiley. Butler’s oeuvre not only spotlights historic African-American narratives that have been shunted to the shadowy recesses of archives, but it also enlivens these narratives through the very materiality of the quilted medium. 


Nancy Demerdash-Fatemi is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Albion College. She earned her BA in Art History with Honors and Distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Thereafter, she earned a SMArchS degree from the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and later, an MA and PhD from the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University. From 2016-2021, she served as an Assistant Editor at the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. Her work has appeared in Perspective: actualité en histoire de l’art, the Journal of North African Studies, the Journal of Arabian Studies, the Journal of the African Literature Association, and the Textile Museum Journal, among others. 

She is currently preparing her book manuscript about the intersections of decolonization and development in postwar modernist architecture and urbanism of Tunisia.


March 23
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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