QUILTS

Jamaica Gleaner - - PRO­FILE -

Dawn Scott, Ja­maica’s mas­ter batik artist. She also took cloth­ing con­struc­tion as an elec­tive course in col­lege and be­gan mak­ing her own clothes.

“My first quilts were util­i­tar­ian gifts for young chil­dren made with ju­ve­nile prints. My first art quilt – ‘Joy’ – was made as a Christ­mas gift for my sis­ter Carolyn Joy in 1991. She thought it was so mag­nif­i­cent that she gave it back to me. She thought I should keep my first quilt in my own col­lec­tion. I later made an­other one for her. ‘Joy’ was in­cluded in an art book – Spir­its of the Cloth, Con­tem­po­rary African Amer­i­can Quilts by Carolyn Ma­zloomi.”

FREE EX­PRES­SION

Quilt­ing of­fers Cooper a ve­hi­cle for free ex­pres­sion. “As a trans­ac­tional at­tor­ney prac­tis­ing pri­mar­ily in af­ford­able hous­ing fi­nanc­ing, quilt­ing pro­vides a wel­come coun­ter­point. Quilt­ing of­fers me cre­ative ex­pres­sion; the li­cence to dream and the priv­i­lege to chan­nel thought into form; the in­de­pen­dence to be guided by pas­sion; and the op­por­tu­nity to meld many in­ter­ests, such as trav­el­ling, col­lect­ing fab­ric, chal­leng­ing his­tor­i­cal sup­po­si­tions, fos­ter­ing cre­ative com­mu­ni­ties and us­ing art. The quilt form, in par­tic­u­lar, is a mech­a­nism to re­con­struct and reimag­ine an African iden­tity not dis­torted by the Mid­dle Pas­sage, en­slave­ment and coloni­sa­tion.”

Cooper said she is in­flu­enced by African tex­tiles and the in­di­vid­ual, cul­tural and spir­i­tual mes­sages they en­code. “My work in­te­grates African cloth, self­dyed fab­rics, com­mer­cial fab­rics, re­cy­cled scraps, beads, cowry shells and other em­bel­lish­ments to tell sto­ries and ex­plore cul­tural val­ues and col­lec­tive mem­ory. I par­tic­u­larly like work­ing with scraps and re­cy­cled cloth­ing – re­con­nect­ing the torn, dis­parate pieces into a new form that is dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal yet con­nected to it.”

Cooper has a deep con­nec­tion with her cre­ations. “They are im­bued with my heart and soul. My quilts are like chil­dren I have sent out to in­ter­act with the world. I have a mes­sage to

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