The Skin Quilt Project is a documentary that explores colorism in the African-American community. The film addresses this complex issue through the stories of African-American quilters, and the tradition of an artform that celebrates its culture. The quilters speak of the influence of the African-American quilting tradition as a tool for encouraging an appreciation in the African-American cultural heritage.
Colorism has been a long disputed issue within the African-American community, however, filmmaker Lauren Cross speculates that African-American quilters are much more grounded in their African roots. As Quilt historian Carolyn Mazloomi explains, African-American quilters "are joined by the thread of a needle” in which the quilting medium leaves no room for “color issues.”
As many African-American quilters come from families who have passed down quilting techniques to their children and grandchildren, today’s quilters represent African-American men and women who have become concerned with telling the story of their cultural heritage. In The Skin Quilt Project, the quilters tell the story of skin color politics in African-American culture, yet realizing the power of quilting to empower self-confidence in their community.
About the Artist:
Lauren Cross is a writer, activist, and interdisciplinary artist working in mixed media, photography, media arts, and installation art. Her current research interests include the issues of colorism and the “color complex” within the African American community, and her current work addresses ideals of beauty, race, and skin complexion in media imagery. She is also the founder and editor of CVAAD Projects( www.cvaad.com), an online blog and resource for contemporary visual art of the African diaspora. She received her BA in Art, Design, and Media from Richmond, The American International University in London, England, and MFA in Visual Arts from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. She is currently a doctoral student in Women's Studies at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas.
For more information,
please contact us at:
Quilting and Participant Links:
The Skin Quilt Project featured at Cuesta Benberry Symposium at Michigan State University Museum
Just a reminder that The Skin Quilt Project will be screened at the upcoming symposium entitled, Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry. Film Director, Lauren Cross, will be present to give a talk and Q&A after the screening! For more information about how to register to attend go to the event website: