Riverside Revival: Lift Every Voice and Sing

Media - 2021.50.1 - SAAM-2021.50.1_1 - 143015
Copied Basil Kincaid, Riverside Revival: Lift Every Voice and Sing, 2019-2021, clothes from the artist, donate clothes, donated corduroy, old choir robes from Black Churches in St. Louis, fragments of vintage quilts, Ghanaian fabric and embroidery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Kenneth R. Trapp Acquisition Fund, 2021.50.1, © 2021, Basil Alexander Kincaid

Artwork Details

Title
Riverside Revival: Lift Every Voice and Sing
Date
2019-2021
Dimensions
overall: 77 12 × 52 78 in. (196.9 × 134.3 cm) [irregular]
Copyright
© 2021, Basil Alexander Kincaid
Credit Line
Museum purchase through the Kenneth R. Trapp Acquisition Fund
Mediums
Mediums Description
clothes from the artist, donate clothes, donated corduroy, old choir robes from Black Churches in St. Louis, fragments of vintage quilts, Ghanaian fabric and embroidery
Classifications
Keywords
  • Performing arts — music — voice
  • Abstract
  • Figure
Object Number
2021.50.1

Artwork Description

This quilt tells a love story. The artist’s paternal grandparents met at a tent church revival in Arkansas, where his grandfather sang in a quartet. Old choir robes from Black churches in St. Louis make up the central figures extending their arms upwards in praise. The background comprises vintage quilts, donated clothing, and fabric from Ghana, chosen by the artist to honor how the women in his family have long made beautiful quilts from recycled clothes.

 

A seventh-generation quilter, Basil Kincaid connects personal and collective memories. He notes, “you can look at where the materials come from and decode the tapestry like a mythology. Future people may not know our religions, their rise and fall, but they will know that we drew energy from dancing and singing together by the riverside.”

 

The subtitle, Lift Every Voice and Sing, pays tribute to the poem-turned-song by brothers James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson that became the canonical song of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and is often referred to as the Black national anthem.

 

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, 2022

 

Exhibitions

Quilt featuring the portrait of a woman
This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World
May 13, 2022April 2, 2023
This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases the dynamic landscape of American craft today. The exhibition highlights the role that artists play in our world to spark essential conversations, stories of resilience, and methods of activism—showing us a more relational and empathetic world. It centers more expansive definitions and acknowledgments of often-overlooked histories and contributions of women, people of color, and other marginalized communities.