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The Legacy of African American Textile Art with Cynthia Lockhart

August 15, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


As close to us as the clothes to our bodies, textiles hold an intimate place in our lives.  It is precisely this closeness which makes fiber a powerful tool to explore our individual and collective experiences. This summer, the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve will host The Ardent Thread, a textile invitational curated by Tony Williams which shares both the personal stories and passionate work of nine regional fiber artists. Though varying widely in process and style, each artist uses tradition as a springboard to investigate heritage and their relationship to the world, including the deep connection of textiles to African American heritage.


On Saturday August 15th, from 1:00 – 2:30pm, the Artists Archives is proud to present The Legacy of African American Textile Art with Cynthia Lockhart, a virtual presentation via the Zoom meeting platform. Lockhart, an exhibiting artist in The Ardent Thread and Emerita Professor at Cincinnati University describes,


“Perhaps more than any other art form, textiles reflect the pulse of the African American Culture. Symbolism of the cloth has been one of our connections to our African roots. The fiber artwork and quilts in the presentation will celebrate the resilient and creative spirit of our African Ancestors. In 1619, my ancestors were brought to America as slaves. Although slavery was cruel, dehumanizing, and oppressive… against all odds my ancestors persevered. As a descendant, I am honored and proud to celebrate the accomplishments of a vibrant and creative people.”


This 45-minute illustrated lecture will feature seminal national artists such as Sam Gilliam, Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold as well as regional fiber artists like Myrya Johnson and Lockhart’s own work.  These powerful creators draw inspiration from Slavery through Emancipation, Reconstruction, Civil Rights, Black Life Matters, “Hands Up”, and present-day protests in honor of Mr. George Floyd.


“I can only imagine where we would we be as a people of color, if somebody had just taken their knee off the necks of my ancestors,” Lockhart reflects. “I salute Mr. Floyd along with so many others who have paid the ultimate price of death while being a person of color. I pray and believe as we go forward that all Americans, and people all over the world would stand together and work for justice and liberty for all. Black Lives Matter.” The work in this presentation not only celebrates the rich fiber heritage of a people, it powerfully asks the question, “What do you think about Freedom?”


The Legacy of African American Textile Art is free and open to the public courtesy of a matching grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The live zoom program will be followed by an audience Q & A with the presenter. To attend, please register on artistsarchives.org. Zoom registration links will be available shortly.


About Cynthia Lockhart: Cynthia Lockhart’s fiber art is infused with a kaleidoscope of diverse influences such as:  Nature, fashion, music, dance, travel, African and Cultural arts. Lockhart’s textiles are distinguished by their pulsating colors, which simulate the vivaciousness of her African ancestry, and by their irregular, organic shapes and circles. Her fashion and accessories design background provide the perfect platform for creating exquisite three-dimensional artwork.


Lockhart holds the distinct honor of having her artwork reviewed and published in the New York Times. Her work is included in the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum, University of Cincinnati, Michigan State University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. In addition, a solo show at the Weston Gallery at the Aronoff in Cincinnati. Lockhart’s work has been featured in “The Artist Magazine” and numerous books and publications. She is a member of the Women of Color Quilters Network. Noteworthy is her inclusion in the “Encyclopedia of African American Artists” and artwork on the cover of the iconic fashion magazine, “Women’s Wear Daily”.


As an award-winning artist, she continues to be an active contributor in the design and art community from a local, national, and International perspective. Professor Lockhart has lectured at conferences and museums throughout United States, Japan, Italy and France. Emerita Professor Lockhart taught Fiber Art Fashion, Art of Jewelry & Leather Accessory Design and Masters of Design Professional Development Seminar courses at the College of Design, Art and Architecture at the University of Cincinnati. Her work was on exhibit at the Taft Museum of Art, “Journey to Freedom”, December 2019 – March 2020. In addition, her art is located in Gallery 708 on Hyde Park Square, Cincinnati, Ohio. www.gallery-708.com .


About the Artists Archives:  The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (AAWR) is a unique archival facility and regional museum created to preserve representative bodies of work by Ohio visual artists. Through ongoing research, exhibition, and educational programs the AAWR actively documents and promotes this cultural heritage for the benefit of the public. The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve would also like to thank Ohio Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the people of Cuyahoga County, the George Gund Foundation, the Bernice & David E. Davis Foundation, the William Bingham Foundation and the Zufall Foundation for their continuing support.



August 15, 2020
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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