Joan M. E. Gaither
Documentary Story Quilter
Social Justice Series
How can you use this opportunity to make a difference in the world by using materials and quilt processes to make others aware of your passionate concern for a social injustice and social change?
- Joan M.E. Gaither
Social justice and injustice issues permeate our daily life to the extent that one might feel powerless to make a difference. The work in this exhibition was created by artist/teacher Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither who uses the “quilting from the soul” process to challenge the comfort, protection, and warmth of traditional quilts with “the use of anything and everything necessary to carry the meaning of a story that needs telling, one that only the teller can convey.”
Gaither has a particular interest in the phenomenon of the changing meaning of words. The artist questions why there is still rampant institutionalized discrimination or why an in-your-face media blitz pushes humanity concerns to the back of public conscious.
Gaither’s work addresses personal and social topics focused on identity, choices and layers of meaning. The artist uses quilting techniques to engage others in thinking about social issues and to cause viewers to examine their own lives and experience for evidence of social injustice.
How Much Longer
How Much Longer uses the soft colors of a baby's blanket. Upon closer inspection each picture on the quilt details stories of racial discrimination experienced by Dr. Gaither provoking the question "How much longer?"
Gordon's Quilt tells the life story of a young man taken too soon. Using family photographs, awards, old t-shirts, and baby clothes, Dr. Gaither tells the story of a remarkable young man and his many accomplishments.
Distractions and Diversions
Distractions and Diversions highlights the many superficial concerns in our daily lives which take our attention from more serious and long-lasting issues. Using a hand with caution tape to divert the viewer's attention, Dr. Gaither places a barrier between the viewer and the current events requiring attention lying underneath the hand.