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This exhibition—the culmination of Butler's 2022 Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship—celebrates the representation of women and mothers. Featuring work spanning two decades, it includes a new quilt inspired by Gordon Parks's groundbreaking Segregation Story series.

Butler creates textile works inspired by photographs—portraits composed entirely of fabrics and textiles in vibrant colors and patterns that reimagine and celebrate Black life. Trained as a painter, she shifted to quilt making during her graduate studies, when she made a quilt in honor of her grandmother. She later recalled: “As a child, I was always watching my mother and grandmother sew, and they taught me. I made a portrait quilt for my grandmother when her health was declining, and I have been making quilts ever since.” 

Bisa Butler is a 2022 Gordon Parks Foundation Fellow.

 

Bisa Butler (b. 1973) was born in Orange, New Jersey, the daughter of a college president and a French teacher. Butler earned her BFA at Howard University, Washington, DC, and her MA in arts education at Montclair State University, New Jersey. Butler taught art in high schools in New Jersey for over ten years. In February 2021 she was awarded a United States Artist fellowship. She has exhibited in group and solo shows across the United States as well as in China, England, Japan, and South Africa. Most recently, she was featured in a solo exhibition that traveled from the Katonah Museum of Art to the Art Institute of Chicago. Butler’s work is in the collections of, among others, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Nelson-Adkins Museum, the Kemper Museum of Art, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Toledo Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

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Bisa Butler, Colored Entrance (after Department Store, Mobile, Alabama by Gordon Parks, 1956), 2023 (detail).
Cotton, silk, wool, velvet, and lace, quilted and appliquéd.
Courtesy of the artist.