The Nova Scotia Museum of Industry in Stellarton has launched an exhibition of contemporary quilts by African Nova Scotian quilters, as part of African Heritage Month 2015.
“I titled the exhibit The Secret Codes after the picture codes alleged to have been used in the underground railroad quilts giving directions to escaped slaves fleeing to Canada,” said curator David Woods. “This exhibit includes Connie Glasgow-White’s underground railway sampler quilt revealing these codes. The show also reveals the long hidden beauty of African Nova Scotian quilting that traces back to at least 1890.”
Mr. Woods challenged the Vale Quilters of New Glasgow to create picture quilts based on his drawings collected from his journey to rural black communities in the province. The Vale Quilters chose drawings from his collection and added elements from their own experiences to create quilted interpretations with vivid colours and bold designs.
The Secret Codes also includes quilts received from an open call for narrative and picture quilts, as well as traditional African Nova Scotian quilts.
“The quilts are a stunning feast for the eyes and a worthwhile opportunity to explore African Nova Scotia culture,” said museum director Debra McNabb. “We’re pleased to complement our Remembering Black Loyalists school program with this beautiful exhibit for the month of February.”
The Museum of Industry received funding to host The Secret Codes from Support4Culture, a designated lottery program of the Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation.
The Secret Codes, presented by the Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia, is on display until Feb. 27. Museum hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. February is African Heritage Month.