The day just got cooler today at two MPS schools. This morning, renowned author and artist Faith Ringgold read her 1992 Caldecott-winning children’s book "Tar Beach" to students at Hampton Elementary School. Then tonight at 6, Ringgold will give a public lecture at North Division High School.
The two events coincide with the new "Stories Shared" exhibit on display at Arts @ Large, 908 S. 5th St., which features 20 pieces of Ringgold’s artwork, illustrations and quilts.
OnMilwaukee got a chance to quick sit down with the award-winning author and artist – who has her next book, "Harlem Renaissance Party," coming next year – and chat about her lecture this evening, "Tar Beach" and the importance of sharing stories.
OnMilwaukee.com: What was it like adapting "Tar Beach" as your first novel, both writing and illustrating it?
Faith Ringgold: Well, the real story is "Tar Beach" was a quilt before it became a book. That’s how the story got written. I had written my autobiography in 1980 and had decided that I was going to make quilts and write my story on them because I couldn’t get my autobiography published.
I also noticed that when I made these big paintings into quilts, I could carry them around. I could ship them easily. People would stand there and read the words. And I mean actually read the whole thing, and if they didn’t get it all read, they’d come back and finish it. I was shocked because I thought, "Who’s gonna stand up there and read all of that?"
OMC: Why do you think that is with a quilt that had that power?
FR: I don’t know. I don’t think just writing on a painting that is framed has that power, no. I don’t know why. But the quilt does.
OMC: What was it like having adapting this quilt and having to expand upon it, especially visually?
FR: I had written it at first as a series of quilts. There’s five of them, and the first one I did was for a musician named Sonny Rollins. He used to go up on the bridge to blow his horn, and I …Read more...