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Bisa Butler’s Stunning Quilted Portraits Celebrate Black Identity and African Roots

Exuberantly colorful, quilted portraits are the unique specialty of American artist, Bisa Butler, who uses them to honor people of African descent. Of Ghanaian heritage, she utilizes fabrics from Africa and America to weave inspirational stories that literally sew the diaspora together. Her largest piece to date — a 13 feet by 11 feet portrait of the “Harlem Hellfighters,” an African American infantry regiment that spent more time on the frontlines than any other American troops in World War I — is part of an exhibition of crafts that opened last month at the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the prestigious Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.