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Forever (For Old Lady Sally)

  • Forever (For Old Lady Sally) by Loretta Bennett
  • Loretta Bennett
    Forever (For Old Lady Sally), 2006
    Color aquatint, spit bite & soft ground etching
    31 x 46 inches
    Corridor adjacent Conference Room 102A- Level 1
    Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center in clinical affiliation with South Shore Hospital

    Gee's Bend, Alabama is a small rural community nestled in a curve of the Alabama River. Founded in antebellum times, it was the site of cotton plantations, primarily the lands of Joseph Gee and his relative Mark Pettway who bought the Gee estate in 1850. Isolated from much of the surrounding countryside, the formerly enslaved people remained as tenant farmers after the Civil War and developed a distinctive local culture. Combining materials to form uniquely bold, abstract compositions, the Gee’s bend quilters revealed a genius for color and geometry. These quilts were originally made for practical use, piled in layers on beds for warmth.

    The women of Gee's Bend passed their skills and aesthetic down through at least six generations to the present. Representing a body of work completed between 1930 and 2000, the "Quilts of Gee’s Bend" exhibition received tremendous international acclaim on its twelve-city American tour. Art critics worldwide compared the quilts to the works of important artists such as Henri Matisse and Paul Klee. The New York Times called the quilts "some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced".

    Loretta Bennett is among the younger generation of quilters whose work was included in the national touring exhibition. Collaborating with master printers, the quilt makers recently made etchings of their work with an innovative technique devised to make a transfer from an actual small-scaled, sampler quilt to an etching plate coated with a thin layer of wax, then treated with acid to create the printable image.

    Original quilts by the late Allie Pettway, Housetop Blocks, 2007 and Housetops w/ 19 patch, 2007, both gifts of Janet Porter and James O’Sullivan, can be viewed in the Dana 1A Human Resources/Occupational Health Wait.

    "We never thought our quilts was artwork, we never heard about a quilt hanging on a wall in a museum. Everybody went to talking about our quilts and everybody wanted to meet us and see us and that's what happened." Arlonzia Pettway