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New England Foundation for the Arts’ Creative City Program Announces 'STITCHED INTO MEMORY' Traditional West-African Textiles by Stephen Hamilton

New England Foundation for the Arts' 
Creative City Program Announces 
Traditional West-African Textiles by Stephen Hamilton
Location: Waterfront Square at Atlantic Wharf, Fort Point
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 29, 2017, 2-5pm
Free and Open to the Public!
Exhibition runs through September 9, 2017
*Part of Creative City Grants Programs throughout Boston Neighborhoods*
[Boston, MAJuly 11, 2017] The New England Foundation for the Arts’ Creative City program announces Stitched into Memory, an exhibition celebrating the contemporary African Diaspora communities of Boston, featuring textiles created in the West African traditions, designed and taught by artist and educator Stephen Hamilton, in collaboration with nine Boston teenagers. The exhibition runs July 29 through September 9, 2017 at Waterfront Square at Atlantic Wharf, located at 290 Congress Street, in South Boston. The opening reception takes place Saturday, July 29, from 2-5pm, and is free and open to the public. The exhibition is on view to the public 7am to 10pm daily.
Over four months, artist and educator Stephen Hamilton designed and taught Boston youth the traditional West African textile arts processes of indigo dying, weaving, and embellishing, yielding a finished textile mural, measuring 30 by 6 feet, made up of individual textiles, pieced together. He led workshops based on traditional textile arts skills he learned having visited Nigeria the year prior to study at the Nike Center for Art and Culture for nine months. My work in Nigeria gave me a much more intimate knowledge of those art forms,shares Hamilton. When working with hand-spun yarns, the threads break easily and hand-dyeing is very intensive. In addition to teaching the textile process, it also teaches patience.” “While growing up in Roxbury, I visited a Nubian Notion in Dudley Square,” Hamilton continues. “They had a book of prints by black artists; also, my neighborhood showcased street murals depicting positive black experience and black pride. This informed my own work art that addresses the cultural heritage of the people living in the area. Later, I learned about the art and architecture of pre-colonial Africa. Textiles served important everyday functions but were important to issues of economics, trade, and religious life, too.” “My goal for this project,” he says, “is to revive the West African historical heritage, and expose it to youth of color. Not only can learning about and celebrating these traditional arts help teach youth new skills, it’s also a pathway to understanding culture, healing and reclaiming identity.” 

About Artist Stephen Hamilton
Stephen Hamilton’s artwork focuses on the aesthetics and philosophies inherent throughout Africa and the Diaspora. He strives to create a dialogue between contemporary black cultures and the ancient African world. Through visual comparison of shared philosophies and aesthetics ubiquitous amongst black peoples he seeks to describe a complex and varied black aesthetic. These visual and philosophical connections and cultural analyses form his visual language. His pieces depict African thought and culture as equal to, yet unique from its western analogue. This work stands in stark contrast to the pervasive negative associations, which have become synonymous with black culture. Stephen, a Boston native, earned his BA in Illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he now teaches. 


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