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Ode to Faith Ringgold's Cafe des Artistes, 2014

Courtesy of JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY, New Orleans.

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Faith Ringgold, Le Café des Artistes, 1994, from The French Collection series. Acrylic on canvas with pieced fabric border. Private Collection.

Faith Ringgold’s Café des Artists is a “story quilt” which is part of a larger series titled, The French Collection. In the series, Ringgold explores “the role of women [and especially African-American women] in art.” The protagonist of the story is Willia Marie Simone, a young African American woman studying in 1920s Paris. In Café des Artists, Willia is the café owner. As was common at that time, her café was patronized by many artists. In this scene  Willia is making proclamations and presenting a manifesto which dictates that “artists have to pay attention to the contributions of African-American women.” Her words are met with varying attitudes.

 

E2 chose to maintain the young African American protagonist, which underlines the continued importance of Ringgold’s message. In their work, the scene is set in New Orleans, an artistic capital in its own right and a city whose European influence and café environment are still enjoyed today.