It was an easy step to make to go from my last 20/12 quilt, 'Vilakazi Street', straight to urban mythology. My first step was to google South Africa Urban Myths and very quickly I found a list of myths about AIDS. One of those is that having sex with a virgin is a cure. Obviously acting on that belief has very negative connotaions for any uninfected adult involved. However, as I read further I found many links leading to the same story, a story which outraged me, which moved me and which galvanised me to make art about it at once. It says a lot about the fact I have done child protection work for many years that it did not suprise me.
I am conscious that others reading this blog may be less battle hardened though, so I have decided to walk a middle ground with this post. The link to the extra information that spurred me to make this quilt is here.
If you are here for pretty art and don't want to know more that's fine. The explanation that follows still makes sense. But, I make no apology for saying what I have said so far. I hope you will read the link, because this quilt was made not to shock for effect but to express my strong feelings that unless the world knows about the dangerous urban myths and debunks them, nothing will change.
In thinking how to visually portray the urban myths I got to thinking about how we cling to perceived truths to protect us even when there is no scientific evidence behind that belief. I have used the African amulet to symbolise the myths, referencing the tradition of placing a piece of writing from a holy book inside a pouch on a hunting shirt to give magical powers of protection. This amulet contains a list of urban myths about how to cure AIDS, wrapped in a piece of kuba cloth and bark cloth with additional wax print to represent the spread of AIDS all over the continent. ( On a momentary light note I nominate myself for the Most Odd Use of Prairie Point Prize). The Cowrie shells are an African symbol of life and regeneration. The amulet is hanging over a grid of streets and city blocks. The background is, like my other 20/12 quilts stamped and scraped with screen inks.
Underneath, I have literally taken the virgin cure myth, writ it large and ripped it to shreds.
We are twelve quilt artists who embarked on an art challenge together. We're from different places throughout the world and our artistic styles vary, but we share a love of art quilting and a desire to play, experiment, learn, and grow.
For four years (2007-2011), we each made a 12x12 inch quilted art piece on a designated theme or palette. See our Theme Series and our Colorplay series.
For the 2012 Series, we changed things a bit and made rectangular pieces, 20x12 inches with roughly 10 weeks between each challenge. As before, we had a designated theme for each challenge.
We shared our process, progress, and results on this blog. It remains a key record of our rich collaboration.