Courtesy: Eskenazi Health, Photo: Hadley Fruits
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Vegetation

Indianapolis, Indiana

Loretta Pettway Bennett

Eskenazi Health | Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital l 2nd Floor Yellow Elevator Corridor, 720 Eskenazi Ave., Indianapolis, Indiana, 46202
Owner:  Eskenazi Health (http://www.eskenazihealth.edu/)
Date:  2009
Placement:  hospitals
Collection:  Eskenazi Health Art Collection
Artwork Type:  quilts
Material:  textile materials
Description:  Vegetation is a quilt constructed 2011 to 2012. This work depicts green, brown, cream, yellow and blue quilted fabrics constructed into a rough rectangle. This work was originally created for Bennett’s bed. The quilt is mounted in a wooden frame and measures 83 by 98.5 inches. It is currently displayed adjacent to the yellow elevator corridor on the 2nd floor of the Eskenazi Hospital. “Atst, I would sketch my quilts and color the drawings with similar colors as the clothes or fabric from thrift stores. Sometimes the clothing itself would help me because I could feel something from the person who had worn that pair of pants, or skirt, dress or shirt.” In order to conform to a defining characteristic of most Gee’s Bend quilts, that they are made from recycled clothing though Loretta shops thrift stores when she runs short of family garments to use in her quilts.” -Loretta Pettway Bennett

Loretta Pettway Bennett is a fifth-generation quilter from Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and one of the youngest to continue hand-stitching quilts in the renowned Gee’s Bend style. Her ancestry traces back to Dinah Miller, her great-great-great-grandmother, who, according to folklore and family history, was one of the first slaves to have arrived in the Bend. The community is distinguished by its concentration of interrelated women whose vibrant quilts have been made since the early 1800s. The quilt designs are unique takes on traditional quilt patterns, passed among the community and embellished through the generations by each individual maker. In 1980-81 they gained national attention through a documentation project done by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in the late 1990s an Atlanta-based folk art collector bought hundreds of the quilts and assembled exhibitions that still tour around the country.

The Gee’s Bend quilters have been profiled in numerous publications, newspaper articles, television programs, radio interviews and personal appearances, as well as 10 U.S. postage stamps and a play. Bennett’s work has appeared in numerous museums, including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Denver Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and in numerous galleries, including the Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle and the Paulson Press Gallery in Berkeley, California. Through the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), Bennett’s works have gone international. FAPE works with the U.S. Department of State to contribute fine art to U.S. embassies around the world in 140 countries. Bennett’s art was selected by FAPE and the U.S. Department of State and now hangs on the walls of United States embassies spanning the globe.

In honor of Grandmother Mae
Lisa E. Harris, M.D.
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