Let's Talk About Art: Tina Brewer


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To mark its 100th year, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh is presenting twice-monthly pieces spotlighting emerging and established artists and AAP programs. The organization promotes the visual arts in the region and is celebrating an ARTrageous year of art with more than 70 exhibitions in museums, galleries and institutions.

Story quilts

Sometimes the most amazing stories are seen, not heard.

"I work as a conduit for messages from ancestors in the form of the story quilt. Each quilt I create is a celebration of the African-American heritage," says Tina Williams Brewer, who has been a story quilt artist for more than 30 years.

Ms. Brewer's work mainly explores African-American history and issues of family, women, children and spirituality.

"I hope my work can be both mind-stirring and soul-soothing. I am passionate about giving dignity to the human suffering of a stolen people."

She is able to tell these stories using symbolism, textile and fabrics rather than words.

"When I create a piece, I need silence to listen to the words inside my soul. I try to give those words a visual interpretation," she says.

Every stitch in Ms. Brewer's work has a meaning. Instead of using traditional quilting patterns, she mimics traditional African art and architectural styles. She uses these symbols and styles in a repetitive form to indicate a spiritual embracing of a celestial world.

Her profound work with African-American heritage has been displayed in more than 50 venues across the United States, and her work was installed this year in the permanent collection of the U.S. Embassy in Sudan.

She currently has an exhibit titled "A Fiber Art Retrospective: 100 Years of African American History" at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Downtown.

Ms. Brewer, who lives in Homewood, received her bachelor of arts degree from Columbus College of Art and Design. She is a member of the Fiber Arts Guild of Pittsburgh and Women of Visions and an emeritus board member of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. Much of her time is devoted to working with students in elementary and middle schools in the Pittsburgh area.



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