'We Will Walk' and the Gees Bend story.

The MA cohort visited Turner Contemporary's exhibition 'We Will Walk-Art and Resistance in the American South' in February, 2020 just before the Covid19 Pandemic took hold.

The concept of quilting, repurposing old clothing, communities of related women sitting together and sewing for one another, resonated strongly with me. As a family of predominantly girls, we were all taught to sew from an early age by our mother. Later on, we sat together over a period of many months to create a set of bridesmaid's dresses for our sister's wedding. Reflecting on this activity drew me to thinking of the many hands of my sisters and mother and led on to my portrait of Mum in hand-embroidered cotton, stitched onto a figured velvet top which had been owned by my Grandmother, her mother.

The extreme poverty and hardships suffered by the Gees Bend slave women is unimaginable to us now, but we can identify with this close bond of gender and narrative storytelling passed down the generations through needlework. It is a universal and timeless language of womanhood.

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