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Wendell Brown
South Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2017

Several years ago, I guided a group of elementary students through a museum’s collection of weavings from Ghana. As they looked at the works, I asked, “Who do you think wove this fabric, a male or a female?” The unanimous response from the students was, “Female!” When I asked why, a male student replied, “Because that’s what girls do.” Another student said, “My grandmother knits; men don’t do things like that. We like sports.”
I have always been intrigued by fabric; however, my experience talking about male-woven African textiles and social roles forced me to think about the African Diaspora and the assimilation our inherent traditions into western culture. As an African American male fiber artist working in the quilt medium, I think about western social-assigned roles and wonder what innate gifts have been lost in translation.

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