These Quilt-Like Portraits Raise Questions About African Identity

Artist Bisa Butler draws inspiration from Mother Africa, creating colorful portraits made of fabric and textiles. Her quilt-like creations remind of African art and fashion, adding a personal touch to her wonderful portraits.

Butler studied fine art at Howard University, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her intricate work raises questions about cultural identity and the importance of tradition.

“My portraits tell stories that may have been forgotten over time,” Butler writes on her gallery’s website. “When you see vintage lace and aged satin it tells you the story of delicacy and refinement of times gone by. When you see African printed cotton and mud cloth it tells the story of my ancestral homeland and the cradle of civilization.”

Her interest in portraits began while skimming through family photo albums. “I have always been drawn to portraits,” Butler explains. “I was the little girl who would sit next to my grandmother and ask her to go through her old family photo albums. I was the one who wanted to hear the story behind every picture. This inquisitiveness has stayed with me to this day. I often start my pieces with a black and white photo and allow myself to tell the story.”

Scroll down to see some of her work.