Aqui-Brooks, Gwendolyn, (Life Scene)
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"Life Scene" by Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks
60 5/6 x 34 3/8 inches, hand quilt of cotton fabric, synthetic fabric, cotton batting, silk thread, acrylic paint, gel medium, newsprint, felt, buttons --unframed
1847: Frederick Douglass launches his abolitionist newspaper The North Star. The masthead of the paper reads, “Right is of no sex—Truth is of no color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.” Douglass will argue persuasively on behalf of African American rights for the rest of his life, challenging Abraham Lincoln’s policies during the Civil War and recruiting African American soldiers for the Union, among other endeavors.
Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks is an artist based in Florida, specializing in mixed-media artwork that includes art quilts, soft sculpture dolls, paintings, and works on paper. She says of her art, "Art is my life! I feel alive when I'm creating, whether it be an art quilt, painting, or doll."
Aqui-Brooks received her bachelor of fine arts in art education from Howard University and her master of arts in education from Trinity College. Much of Aqui-Brooks's inspiration comes from traveling to colorful places like Brazil, Turkey, Greece, Italy, West Africa, and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Her love for textiles began more than twenty years ago while she was living in Gambia. There she discovered the richness of her ancestral spirits through the vivid colors and textures of local fabrics.
Aqui-Brooks's quilts are vibrantly multihued, hand-sewn hybrids of patchwork, geometric abstraction, and narrative themes. She prefers to work without the use of sketches, but rather to begin her creative journey with a circle. Representations of figures, faces, plant forms, and symbols are merged in the quilts to produce dazzling compositions.