Liberian Quilters, Transatlantic Diplomacy, and Community
This essay investigates how the art of Liberian quilters functioned in diplomatic and social contexts; that is, how women visual artists actively shaped cultural diplomacy in nineteenth and twentieth century transatlantic history. Such an examination inserts an absent historical voice--a female West African international traveler--into the corpus of black women traveling internationally in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The essay traces the development of quilting, the gentile??? Victorian art, as the Liberian diplomatic gift and asks how and why quilting retains this role after the civil war at the end of the twentieth century. By focusing on an artistic tradition absent from scholarship on Liberian material culture, this essay offers female perspectives on the establishment of a new nation.
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