Bisa Butler
Play • 59 min
In episode 77 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the fantastic artist, BISA BUTLER!!! [This episode is brought to you by Alighieri jewellery: | use the code TGWA at checkout for 10% off!] One of the leading artists working today, Butler uses the medium of textile for her vivid and vibrant portraits of subjects that weave personal and historical narratives of Black life. From integrating members of her own family derived from old photographs to immortalising celebrated figures from Chadwick Boseman to Frederick Douglass, or those unknown from depression-era photographs, Butler’s oeuvre aims to, in her words, “tell the story – the African American side – of American life”. Born and raised in New Jersey, where she still resides today, Butler studied for her BA at the prestigious Howard University – where she was taught under the AfriCobra group – and for an MA at Montclair State University, it was here when she first began using the medium of textiles after assembling together a portrait quilt for her grandmother. Working as a high school art teacher for more than a decade, Butler worked on her fibre creations in school holidays and at the weekend, exhibiting at churches and community centres. And it is this medium which she has come to pioneer – not only by integrating portraits in such meticulous ways, but by fusing a range of fabrics in her work – from her father’s homeland of Ghana, batiks from Nigeria, and prints from South Africa. Butler’s rise has been astronomical. Having had her first solo exhibition in 2017, within just a few years she has had solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Katonah Museum of Art; made two covers for TIME Magazine, as well as a cover for New York Magazine featuring Questlove, and for those in Los Angeles, her work is currently and prominently on view at LACMA’s hotly anticipated exhibition, Black American Portraits. LISTEN NOW + ENJOY!!! Follow us: Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic Research assistant: Viva Ruggi Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner Music by Ben Wetherfield
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