The Tucson Quilters Guild Quilt Fiesta! 2017 is all over, but this one was even more interesting that usual for me. One of the show co-chairs confided in me that my entry Abuela Reads the Headlines caused some controversy at the quilt show. Apparently at least two people asked that it be removed from the show show. Here is a pic of the piece:
I believe the controversial part is the 2015 headlines from mainstream media that appear on the quilt. They are:
U.S. looks to detain more mother, child migrants, sometimes for months
Judge blasts ICE, says immigrant children, parents in detention centers should be released
Border detention of children shames America
And, what is for me, the kicker:
Cribs replace bunks at new immigrant detention center
But my quilt was not the only one to cause a stir. My friend Sandy Lambert had an incredible piece called ‘Lest We Forget.’ It is entirely hand quilted and embroidered with quotations by Republican presidential candidates, along with tombstones with the various dates of their campaigns’ demise.
Several people confronted the show co-chair, Reilly Zoda and asked (perhaps demanded?) that the quilts be removed from the show due to their political content. She said that there was a Quilt of Valor at the show (and that was a political quilt), and a patriotic Baltimore Album quilt, and that was political, and if the show was going to censor political quilts, they would have to take them all down. What a brilliant response.
I am so proud that the show chairs refused to remove the ‘offending’ quilts. They were courageous in refusing to censor free expression at the show. We all know women have long expressed their hopes, dreams, and political beliefs in quilts, and the Tucson Quilters’ Guild honored that part of our tradition this weekend. The actions of the TQG stand in stark contrast the actions of the AQS over a quilt by Kathy Nida. (If you are unfamiliar with the case, google it, or click here, here, and here.)
Our foremothers would be proud!
I am holding my breath, however. I fear that this will be a hot topic at the next board meeting, and there may be a new policy in place for next year…. I will keep you posted.
I know from experience that the guild will hear 10 negative comments for each positive one. If you agree with their decision to allow ‘political’ quilts in the show, please let them know!