Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Next month, "Black Girl Magic," a textile abecedarium exhibit by Evanston artist Melissa Blount that celebrates contemporary Black women, will be on display at the Chicago Ave/Main St. Branch, 900 Chicago Avenue.
In conjunction with the exhibit, Blount will lead several community events, including a presentation on the exhibit and a Black Lives Matter Witness Quilt Sewing Circle where participants can make their own textile square.
"Black Girl Magic" features 26 textile pieces, one for each letter of the alphabet, celebrating contemporary Black women. The piece explores the relegation of many Black women to domestic servitude.
After slave shackles were dropped in 1865, Black girls became millionaires, started churches, birthed movements, and ran for President of these United States. Black girls were not meant to survive after the centuries-old practice of brutal enslavement, but they did.
Black Girl Magic, Blount says, is here to stay and will not be left out of historical or contemporary conversations.
In connection with the exhibit, Blount invites the community to create their own textile square in honor of Black women who have been victims of random or interpersonal violence. The squares that participants embroider, Blount explains, will make the invisible, visible and the unknown, known.
Melissa Blount is a licensed clinical psychologist, writer, and artist who creates quilts that explore the notions of trauma and white supremacy. Through community sewing circles, she cultivates unique opportunities for people to bear witness to the unjust and violent loss of life in communities of color.
Blount's historic and contemporary influences include: Ida B. Wells-Barnett; Frances E. Willard; Mary Ann Pettway; Chyna Pettway; the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective; Amos Kennedy; Ben Blount; Gwendolyn Brooks; Krista Franklin; Bryan Stevenson; Isabel Wilkerson; and Claudia Rankine.
Black Girl Magic events:
-- Exhibit: October 31 through December 5, EPL Chicago Ave/Main St. Branch (CAMS), 900 Chicago Avenue
-- Artist Talk: Melissa Blount will discuss her process, the meaning of her work, its relevance in the world today, and the strength that is Black Girl Magic. November 2, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., CAMS
-- Black Lives Matter Witness Quilt Sewing Circle: Make your own Black Girl Magic quilt square. The project for the day will focus on Black women who have been victims of (or fended off) random and interpersonal violence. All materials will be provided. November 9, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., CAMS