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quilts and textiles

Conscience of the Human Spirit: The Life of Nelson Mandela

Click here to see selections from this exhibit.

In 2013 the world mourned the passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, one of its most revered champions of human rights. Mandela provided a moral compass for how we treat each other, how we lead our own lives, and how we need to continue to strive for a just, fair, non-racial, and democratic society.

Artists around the world have long made quilts in tribute to Mandela and in support and advocacy for the principles to which he was devoted. But it was for South Africans and African Americans that making quilts in tribute to Mandela has had special meaning. An exhibition, featuring over 80 quilts made in 2013 and 2014, was developed by the Michigan State University Museum and the Women of Color Quilters Network in association with quilt artists across South Africa and was showcased in July 2014 at the International Quilt Conference Africa in Johannesburg.

The 51 quilts made by the U.S. quilt artists are now featured in this traveling exhibition. These diverse and powerful pieces reflect the ways in which this remarkable man touched individual lives, changed a nation, and literally served as the conscience of the human spirit for individuals around the world.

-Marsha MacDowell, Ph.D., Professor and Curator, Michigan State University Museum and Director, The Quilt Index.
-Carolyn Mazloomi, Ph.D., Independent Scholar and Founding Director, Women of Color Quilters Network


Wilbur Steele Hall Art Gallery, Bennett College
Greensboro, North Carolina and
Delta Arts Center
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
November 2, 2017 - February 24, 2018

Mariposa Museum and World Cultural Center
Peterborough, New Hampshire
April 15 - July 5, 2018

This exhibit has been displayed at the following site: International Quilt Conference Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; The Kentucky Museum, Bowling Green, KY; National Afro American Museum and Cultural Center, Wilberforce, OH; and LookOut! Gallery, Snyder-Phillips Hall, MSU, East Lansing, MI.

  Rental fee (per 12 week period) $4,000, plus shipping
  Number of pieces: 51, 30" x 30" quilts
  Running feet required: 240 linear feet of wall space
  Insurance Value: $114,000
  Security requirement: Lockable, limited access display area; trained guards or comparable protection system; provisions to prevent public from touching objects; object handling by museum professionals; temperature and light controls; fire protection according to local ordinances
  Additional materials available: Press materials.


Photo of The Father of a Nation quilt made by Aprill Shipp
Tata: The Father of a Nation by April Shipp
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong

Photo of Collective Memories quilt made by Valerie C. White
Collective Memories by Valerie C. White
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong




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