September 29 – December 24, 2020 • Textile Center, Community Gallery

Statement from the artist:

I Wish I Knew How it Feels to be Free is a series of social justice art quilts that document and raise awareness on systemic criminal justice issues that restrict the lives of African Americans in this country. All people, regardless of race, religion, age, ability, gender, income, or sexual orientation are entitled to freedom.

My art is one form of my activism. My quilts are designed to raise awareness, encourage dialogue, and spur viewers to action. Art is also a tool document history and current events. The eight issues highlighted in this exhibition challenge the viewer to envision what the United States could be if issues such as: police misconduct, the senseless killing of African American youth, human trafficking, wrongful convictions, life without possibility of parole, missing African American women and girls, gun violence, and domestic violence — were addressed without racial bias.

Many have recently stated that we are living in difficult times. We must also acknowledge that difficult times are not new to African Americans and that the issues illustrated in these quilts are part of an ongoing struggle that we as African Americans have faced since our arrival in this country in 1619.”

About the artist:

Dorothy Burge, a member of Women of Color Quilters Network, is a multimedia artist and community activist who is inspired by both historic and current social justice issues. She is one of the strongest voices in Chicago for police accountability and reparations for survivors of police torture. Dorothy will be a featured guest in our Zoom Let’s Talk About Race conversations. 

This exhibition is part of Textile Center and Women of Color Quilters Network’s We Are the Story initiative.

(Header Photo: Detail from Who Killed Our Girls, Dorothy Burge)

Let’s Talk About Race: I Wish I Knew How it Feels to be Free – A Conversation with Carolyn Mazloomi and Dorothy Burge

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Textile Center welcomed Dorothy Burge, along with curator Carolyn Mazloomi, for our first Let’s Talk About Race Zoom discussion. View a recording of the session on YouTube below!