Bisa Butler is an American artist who quilts empowering depictions of the Black community, including prominent figures to everyday people. History is often a major source of inspiration for the New Jersey-native, from a tributary piece she created of the oft-forgotten Harlem Hellfighters brigade of WWI, to her latest solo exhibition, which subtly pays homage to Nas‘ seminal record, Illmatic.
Housed at Jeffrey Deitch in New York, The World is Yours presents new large-scale quilts that are made in collaboration with several acclaimed contemporary photographers, including Gordon Parks, Janette Beckman and Jamel Shabazz. “They captured the spirit of their subjects on film,” Butler said in a statement, “and I strive to reinterpret and add to their vision with textiles. The quilts become a conversation between the photographer, the subject, myself and the audience.”
Carrying the vibrancy of painting and the precision of photography, Butler’s textural compositions are woven from a variety of sources — such as Nigerian hand-dyed batiks to African wax-resist cotton with holographic vinyl-fabrics. Like the song that inspired it, Butler wants her latest exhibition to serve as a mantra for “all people who may have been mistreated through acts of prejudice and racism that this world also belongs to them. In fact, this world belongs to all of us, and it always has. The statement “The World Is Yours” encourages people to stay the course and never stop trying to create the life they envision.”
The World Is Yours is on view at Jeffrey Deitch New York until June 30.
In related news, check out Hypeart’s guide to New York Art Week 2023.
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