Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gwendolyn Magee (1943 – 2011) - Sister Quilter and Friend

It is with profound personal sadness that I share this news. Our Sister Quilter Gwendolyn Magee passed away after an illness. For those who had the privilege to see Gwen’s magnificent art quilts, hear her infectious laughter, or read her art commentaries, you’ll know what a great loss we’ll experience.Gwen, from Jackson, Mississippi, was an award winning quilt artist:

· 2011 – Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts http://www.arts.state.ms.us/special-projects/governors-awards.php

· 2007 – Ford Fellow, United States Artists http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/user/gwenmagee

· 2006 – “Honored Artist,” Mississippi State Committee, National Museum of Women in the Arts.

· 2003 – Visual Arts of the Year – Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters

Gwen also inspired many textile artists and quilters nationally through her online outreach efforts. She was among the first to create a website dedicated to quilting and textiles by minorities worldwide. She owned and operated from 1999 - 2007 QuiltEthnic.com (http://quiltethnic.com), a leading textile history website. Additionally, she hosted the informative, creative, and instructional blog Textile Arts Resource Guide (http:creativityjourney.blogspot.com).

Gwen’s marvelous, emotional creativity was shared through her art and story quilts. Photographer and folklorist Roland Freeman was among the first to document Gwen’s quilts in the landmark book, Communion of the Spirits (1997). Her quilts were also included in such exhibitions as: Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary Quilts by African American Artists (1999), Threads of Faith (2004), Honored Women Artists of Mississippi: A Retrospective (2007), Sou’s Journey: Inside the Creative Process (2009), Tradition/Innovations: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft & Traditional Art (2008), and more.

Gwen’s work was also documented in the solo traveling exhibition and catalog Journey of the Spirit: The Art of Gwendolyn A. Magee (2004 – 2007). You can see her artwork on Black Artists in America (http://blackartinamerica.com/profile/GwenMagee) or her own website (http://gwenmagee.com/). Here is a link to a article about Gwen from the Jackson Free Press newspaper: click here.

Gwen is survived by her loving husband, Magee (that’s all I ever heard her call him!), her two daughters, a son-in-law, two grandsons, and a host of other family and friends.

A memorial service for is set for 5 p.m. May 6 at the Mississippi Museum of Art: 380 South Lamar Street, Jackson, MS 39201. Tel: 601-960-1515.

May we celebrate Gwen's life and extraordinary creativity - and ask for blessings for her family.

15 comments:

Willa said...

Feels like losing a friend. She was still young.

Susanne said...

The shock of this news is devastating for me, and I only spent a brief moment with her many years ago. The generous gift of her time and attention made an indelible impression on me, and I can't fathom the pain her family must be feeling.

My deepest condolences go out to all of her people and close friends. I know that she loved each and every ONE fully and with joy. Her love is so strong that it will be felt forever. Imagine the work she’s creating now without the constraints of this world!

AFRICANFAB said...

If I could have been on Gwen's shoulder at least one time, as she quilted one quilt, I swear I would have been so quiet I would hear every needle stitch. She has inspired me as an artist and will continue to give me courage to create my "truth". I will miss Gwen. Thanks Kara for the day you insisted we exchange numbers!!

Willy Wonky said...

God Bless, and God Speed, Gwen!

AdyQuilts said...

How sad, and such a loss.
Ady

janice a/k/a earthloczwoman said...

This is truly sad news. She was truly an inspiration. Condolences to her family and friends.

Edna Patterson-Petty said...

It is like losing a very close friend. Even before I opened the email to find out the news, I had the most uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have such fond memories of Gwen and I wish her family well. Farewell to a friend.

Sherise Marie Wright said...

Gwen was such an inspiration to me. I was able to speak with her about quilting over the phone. We spoke for two hours and I could have remained on the phone with her forever. She was so inviting with her wisdom, words, and kindness to me. She also sent me an an email expressing to me to go on as a quilter and to keep forward with my dream. I am deeply devastated and in my heart she is an angel quilting in heaven. Her words were so important to me. I will remember everything she stated to me over the phone about quilting. She was such a blessing to me. I will definitely pray for her family.

Anita said...

Dearest Gwen - rest in peace sister friend. May your family take comfort in the wonderful memories they shared with you. Conversations that we shared will always be treasured.

Kristi Bernard said...

I am sorry for your loss. Her quilts are beautiful.

O.V. said...

I never met Gwen, but over the years I have been inspired by her work and her generosity. I am saddened at the loss for so many. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Diana said...

I did not have the pleasure of meeting Gwen, but her art is inspiring. My condolences goes out to her family and friends.

Diana Bracy

yetunde said...

i spoke with her last month on the phone. i didn't know she was sick. she was feature in our april quilting bee newsletter for the blog of the month. she was very nice in helping me. she will truly be miss.

Lenora said...

I never met Gwen but I felt I know her because of her work. I love her work because it spoke the truth! And Gwendolyn was a advocate
for the truth. I will always be a fan of her work. Gwen will be deeply missed.

Sandy Hassan said...

Today, I read your post of Gwen's passing. What a loss. She was such a gifted artist. Although I never met her, I was a great admirer of her work and looked forward to a visit to her studio.