In Memoriam

Faith Ringgold (1930-2024)

Multimedia artist and activist Faith Ringgold died in her home in Englewood on 13 April. Her death was reported by ACA Galleries, which has represented her work since 1995.

Portrait of Faith Ringgold. Photo by Grace Matthews.

Portrait of Faith Ringgold. Photo by Grace Matthews.

Born in Harlem, Faith Ringgold was a veteran US artist who’s been making political art since the 1960s. Ringgold’s oil paintings and posters have often carried strong messages of freedom that have won her fans, including James Baldwin, who wrote her first exhibition review.

One of her most iconic paintings, American People Series #20: Die (1967), depicting a street massacre, hangs at MoMA in New York. Ringgold’s work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums in the United States and abroad. Being socially engaged both in her art and life, in 1968 she demonstrated against the exclusion of Black and female artists by New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. That episode led to her being called the N word for the first time in her life, to which she responded with multiple artworks. In 1970 she made the poster for the People’s Flag Show at New York’s Judson Memorial Church, resulting in her arrest for desecrating the US flag. Never one to quit, in 1971 Ringgold cofounded Where We At, a group for African American female artists. Constantly experimenting with different media, Ringgold has worked extensively with African crafts while breaking with the hierarchy that limits what crafts can do in the fine arts. Another series, which has become her trademark, is of quilts combining images and handwritten text to tell the lives of African Americans. One of these, Tar Beach, was turned into a children’s book published in 1991, the first of Ringgold’s eighteen children’s books.

Ringgold is the recipient of more than 80 awards and honors including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; two National Endowment for the Arts Awards; The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award and the Medal of Honor for Fine Arts from the National Arts Club.  In 2017 Faith Ringgold was elected as a member into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston, MA.




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