Feminist Art Movement occurred in tandem with the Black Arts Movement. Perceptions of women and their status were changing with the founding of the National Organization of Women, the Civil Rights Act ending sex discrimination, and legalization of abortion. Works by female artists began to reflect new social identities. For Black female artists, both the patriarchal nature of the Black Arts Movement and the predominantly white representation of the Feminist Art Movement marginalized the concerns of Black women. Many chose the Feminist Art Movement and worked within it to address issues of race and gender and also formed various professional support groups.
- Faith Ringgold (1930- ) Ringgold formed WSABAL (Women, Students and Artists for Black Art Liberation) professional support group engaged in both Black Arts and Feminist Art Movements. After being exposed to Tibetan scroll banners (Tanka) in 1972, Ringgold moved to framing in textiles and then to story quilts which she is famously known for. By 1980, paintings and quilts became one as a painting was then transformed into a quilt. Within this media she addresses women’s themes and has lifted the idea of quilting to high art. https://www.faithringgold.com/about-faith/
Woman Freedom Now (From the Political Poster series), 1971, Mixed media series of Pop and Op Art political posters to raise money for the Black Panther Party legal defense fund. Her 1970s art is described as Afrofemcentric – a consolidation of feminine causes and Black liberation. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/202866
The Flag is Bleeding, 1970 Shown at The People’s Flag Show in 1970 where flag symbolism was adapted to show opposition to the Vietnam war and the oppression of minorities and women. Ringgold, art activist Jean Toche, and Judson Gallery curator Jon Hendricks curated the show and challenged flag desecration laws. The three were arrested on charges of flag desecration. Dubbed “the Judson Three,” they became an international cause with donations for bail and legal fees collected. Ringgold was fined. https://www.nga.gov/press/acquisitions/2021/ringgold.html
- Betye Saar (1926-) Saar is best known for creating collage and assemblage works that challenge negative stereotypes about African Americans. Saar stated “I’m the kind of person who recycles materials but I also recycle emotions and feelings, and I had a great deal of anger about the segregation and the racism in this country.” https://www.moma.org/artists/5102
The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, 1972 – Through mixed media/found objects, Saar critiques Mammy stereotypes through Aunt Jemima. Viewed as maid to self-liberating woman through caricature, pop imagery, and symbols of violence revolution.berkeley.edu/liberation-aunt-jemima/
- c) Emma Amos (1938-2020) “For me, a black woman artist, to walk into the studio is a political act.” Amos studied fine arts and textile weaving at Antioch College and printmaking techniques in London. She was the only female member of Spiral (a short lived collective of Black artists started in 1963) and was exposed to the history of African American artists, agitprop art, and the Black aesthetic. Amos has created several cycles focused on racism, historic figures, Black hair, own family history, and Black history.
Out in Front, 1982 self-woven fabric and painting https://www.artsy.net/artwork/emma-amos-out-in-front