Happy Creativity Thursday: Celebrating Faith Ringgold’s Art at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Photo Credit: FaithRinggold.com
Photo Credit: FaithRinggold.com

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today’s blog is wrapped in the creative spirit of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Civil Rights and Feminist movements, and the phenomenal artwork of Faith Ringgold, one of my creative sheroes. Visit her web site and read her blog for more information about her activism, art, and authentic way of living.


A few weeks ago, I took myself on an artist date to see the American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s series at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Ringgold’s American People series offers insight into how she experienced life during this powerful decade of change in the United States. It features 49 rarely exhibited paintings that I was able to see for a second time. The first time I saw them was at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in 2012.


After seeing the paintings for a second time, I can now say the Black Light Series is one of my all-time favorite groups of Ringgold paintings. Her use of African masks in the design of people’s faces and the way she weaves words into her paintings dazzle my spirit. Each time I see the bold colors of red, black and green in the paintings, my eyes sparkle and my heart travels back to my childhood when my parents taught my brothers and I about the “Black is Beautiful” movement. I am madly in love with the Black Light Series #3: Soul Sister (I mention it in my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One). I also adore the Black feminist activist series of four political posters, Women Freedom Now, Women Free Angela, Woman Free Yourself, and America Free Angela. 

Free Angela America by Faith Ringgold - Photo Credit: FaithRinggold.com
Free Angela America by Faith Ringgold – Photo Credit: FaithRinggold.com

If you are in D.C. between now and November 10, treat yourself to a morning or afternoon visit to see Ringgold’s fantastic work at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. For more information about Ringgold’s work in the 1960s, click here to read her daughter Michelle Wallace’s Ringgold in the 1960s blog. Enjoy!

Chicago Creative Adventure #1 – Visit to Art Institute of Chicago


Adrian Piper

Vanilla Nightmare #2, 1986

Charcoal and red crayon, with erasing, on tan wove paper (newsprint)
600 x 703 mm

bwremixCinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 by Andrea Brownlee

cy4Cy Twombly – Untitled, 2007

cy3Cy Twombly – Untitled, 2001


Jasper Johns – Perilous Night

womanGaston Lachaise – Woman (Elevation)


Joan Miro – Ciphers and Constellations in Love with a Woman

Hi All!

It’s raining right now in Chicago. The Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark” is keeping me company. Thank goodness for Pandora.com!

I am planning to head out to the Museum of Contemporary Art shortly. I’ll spend some time there before heading over to the Blogging While Brown Conference (http://www.bloggingwhilebrown.com) which starts with registration around 5:00 p.m. There’s also a reception that kicks off at 7:00 p.m. After the reception, my cousin Ellen and I are going to visit Devon Avenue for some good Indian food.

Yesterday was amazing. I slept late. I spent the afternoon chilling and relaxing. I walked around downtown Chicago in the early evening and just took in the sunshine and beauty. I also visited the Chicago Architecture Foundation (http://www.architecture.org) and viewed the Chicago Model City exhibit which opened on June 10. I learned about the Mecca Flats, an African American housing unit on the Southside. I want to research it more for some story ideas.

My evening got sweeter as I walked along Michigan Avenue and strolled with the evening crowd. I took a few moments to take some pictures of the Art Institute of Chicago before heading in for one of the best creative adventures of my trip. I saw three exhibits:

  • Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper – I was introduced to some fantastic artists: Laurie Anderson, Sol Lewitt, Nancy Spero, Brice Marden, Annie Ryan, Joan Miro, Evelyn Statsinger, Kurt Schwitter, and Yayoi Kusama. My heart was so full when I saw one of my favorite artists Adrian Piper’s Vanilla Nightmare #2. The evening continued to bring me joy when I saw Glenn Ligon’s Backlash, Backlash…, Jasper John’s Perilous Night, Amedeo Modigliani’s Caryatid: Rose and Blue, and Pablo Picasso’s Head of a Woman.
  • Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000-2007 – I first learned about Twombly’s work while reading More magazine last month. I tore the picture of his painting out and kept it with me. I was so excited when I realized his work was on exhibit at the Art Institute. The exhibit was mesmerizing. WOW. It generated so much creative fire in me. I was bubbling as I noticed his use of color and the way he creates this lush intuitive, messy flow of paint mixed with words, poetry, flowers, nature, crayon drawings, and scribbles. Damn, this cat is truly amazing. I am in love. Yes indeedie sweetie I love me some Cy Twombly! That’s why I purchased a book featuring his artwork from the exhibition. I even wrote a poem about the series that touched me the most.
  • Girls, Tricky – This film by artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen features the rehearsal of Tricky, a trip hop musician and producer from London. WEIRD. I watched it for about 8 minutes before rolling out. It wasn’t for me!
  • Museum Shop Discovery #1 – When I picked up a copy of Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 by Andrea Brownlee (http://www.digidiva.net/Cinema%20II%20Brochure%20005.pdf), I thanked the shopping goddess because it was priced at only $27.50. Now that’s a bargain for an art book about Black women. There was only one copy left. It was waiting for me! Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 is the first exhibition to examine the critical contributions of Black women film and video artists to the field of contemporary art. The book chronicles the exhibition which features some of my favorite artists such as Adrian Piper, Julie Dash, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, Marìa Magdelena Campos-Pons, and Xaviera Simmons. The exhibition and book were created by The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.
  • Museum Shop Discovery #2 – I laughed when I found a postcard featuring artist Gaston Lachaise’s Woman, a bronze sculpture of a woman with a body like mine. It was a much needed affirmation to embrace my fullness and beauty. I am keeping the card as a reminder and will place it on my altar when I get home.
  • Museum Shop Discovery #3 – Joan Miro’s Ciphers and Constellations in Love with a Woman reflected how I felt about the artwork I saw during my creative adventure at the Art Institute. That’s why I purchased a postcard of her work as a reminder to surrender and allow myself to flow with the art of life. Her work also made me think of a statement that I read while I was reading the curator’s description for the Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper: “Art is a sign of life. There can be no life without change, as there can be no development without change.” Now that’s some art wisdom!

Peace and Creativity,