Art Quilts By Unicia R. Buster

"Art quilts are quilts designed and created by the artist without the use of a commercial pattern. They are used mainly for display but can also be utilitarian. In my art quilts, I explore a variety of techniques in creating my original designs - raw-edge appliqué, fabric collage, thread painting, fabric painting, drawing, and free-motion quilting - in order to broaden my skills. Working with textiles is my favorite and most preferred medium for my art." - Unicia R. Buster

Impression of Identity by Unicia R Buste

"Impression of Identity"

By Unicia R. Buster

Art Quilt of cotton, fabric marker, thread

43"w x 43"h

This art quilt, done in my echoline style, represents questions of identity with our individual selves and as a race. The two heads have abstracted hairstyles of bantu knots that are loosely shaped as people. The race of people who are descendants of Africans brought to America for enslavement have been identified as after slavery as black, Negro, Afro-American, African-American and Black American. This constant need to reshape and rename our collective identity that ties in with two nationalities echoes our personal need to know how who we are and how do we define ourselves. Is it by our DNA, family, culture, ethnicity, nationality, etc. The spirals in the background mimic the patterns seen in our fingerprints to tie in the idea of self and individualistic culture.

Three Queens by Unicia R Buster.jpg

"Three Queens"

By Unicia R. Buster

Art Quilt of cotton, fabric marker, thread

47"w x 47"h

This echoline drawn art quilt shows the grace, beauty and majesty of black women with their exaggerated Afro that's the size of the trees I've drawn in the distant. When one thinks of trees, they think of a valuable resource that stands stoic, strong, firm and tall with resilience and longevity. Black women, just like a tree, exemplify these traits; enduring the pain and hardships of things like racism, and sexism. However they, we, continuously rise.

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"Second Street"

By Unicia R. Buster

Art Quilt of cotton, fabric paint, thread, photos

60"w x 60"h

This art quilt began as a design for the poster of the annual Second Street Festival in Richmond, Virginia. It is a music festival that celebrates the rich black history of the Jackson Ward neighborhood and 2020 was its 32nd year. Included in this quilt are the names and portraits of Ethel "Lady E" Barnett-Johnson, Cab Calloway, Marsha M. Meekins, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Ethal Waters, J. Plunky Branch, Jackie "Moms" Mabley, Phillip "Doc" Martin, Desireé Roots, and Debo Dabney who passed away earlier this year. These past and present performers have all been apart of the "Harlem of the South" as 2nd Street was known during the Harlem Renaissance. The center area abstractly features a young boy playing a saxophone for a crowd on a stage with stage lights and a piano. The marquee says "The Hippodrome" which was the prominent theater where blacks performed during the 30s and 40s.

Before finishing this design and after the untimely passing of Debo Dabney, another art quilt was created for the poster to honor his memory.

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"A Tribute to Bill Bojangles Robinson and Debo Dabney"

By Unicia R. Buster

Art Quilt of cotton, fabric paint, thread, photos

45"w x 45"h

This art quilt was designed for the poster of the 32nd annual Second Street Festival in Richmond, Virginia, a music festival that celebrates the rich black history of the Jackson Ward neighborhood. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was a Jackson Ward native and was known for his performances with Shirley Temple. Herbert A. "Debo" Dabney III was a well known musician who performed all over Richmond and was a staple at the Second Street Festival performing 31 of the 32 years. He was known as the "piano man" for his talented skills with the keyboard. He passed away this year, April 9, 2020.

Also included are drawings of The Hippodrome Theater, originally built in 1914 as a vaudeville and movie theater; and the Taylor Mansion, originally built in 1907 as the home of Rev. William Lee Taylor. They are both located on 2nd Street and were recently renovated in 2011.

Contextual Crucifixion by Unicia R Buste

"Contextual Crucifixion"

By Unicia R. Buster

Art Quilt of cotton, fabric paint, thread, photos, fabric marker

36"w x 36"h

Stories told throughout history have been placed both in and out of context like stories of the Bible, and stories of the brutality committed against black people from slavery, lynching and the current murders. How we process information is greatly affected by the context in which that information is given. For example, the story of Jesus Christ is always given in the context of Jesus Christ’s role as savior of humanity. So when a person sees a crucifixion, they look upon the grotesque way Jesus died as a positive and justified death knowing it served a greater good. Contrarily, a black man’s lynching is always given in the context of racism and white men’s feelings of superiority. So when a person sees a photograph of a lynched black man, they look upon the grotesque way in which he died as negative from both sides feeling hatred towards another race. Out of context, both of these stories would be one and the same, a man of color inhumanly murdered on a large stick of wood. In the end, it’s how we turn around a tragic story that makes it go down in history. With just four words, George Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, changed the narrative of his murder by saying “Daddy changed the world.”

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