Historical Figures, Contemporary Images
After the success of the 2002 exhibition The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, many quilters found themselves with new audiences and new opportunities. Mary Lee Bendolph was invited to California to make intaglio prints based on quilt designs, adapting one medium to another. When she returned home, she began to introduce the aesthetic of her prints into her quilt designs. Louisiana Bendolph, inspired after seeing her great-grandmother’s quilt on the wall of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, created a new generation of patchwork quilts that explored and reshaped the aesthetic practices of her community. Loretta Pettway Bennett was similarly inspired: “The first quilt shows of Gee’s Bend quilts opened in Houston, Texas, in September 2002. There my eyes were opened, and it touched me in a way as to question myself: Can I make a quilt that someday might hang on the wall of a museum?” In the next few years, she made approximately twenty-five quilts, two of which are now in museum collections.