Faith Ringgold’s “Jazz Stories: Somebody Stole My Broken Heart”
March 21, 2022 - The New Yorker, Françoise Mouly
In the artist Faith Ringgold’s children’s book “Harlem Renaissance Party,” Lonnie, a young boy, and his Uncle Bates spend a whirlwind day in nineteen-twenties Harlem meeting Black artistic greats, including Langston Hughes, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, and Coleman Hawkins. At the end of the tour, Lonnie says to his uncle, “Black people didn’t come to America to be free. We fought for our freedom by creating art, music, literature, and dance.” His uncle responds, “Now everywhere you look you find a piece of our freedom.” This understanding of the inescapable entanglement of joy and sorrow—and of hardship and creation—is one that echoes through much of Ringgold’s work, which can be seen, in a major retrospective, “Faith Ringgold: American People,” at the New Museum, in New York City, through June.
This week’s cover, for the Spring Style & Design Issue, features a piece from Ringgold’s “Jazz Stories” series, which she began in 2004. In it, Ringgold, who was born in Harlem in 1930, celebrates the music that has provided her with a lifetime of inspiration.
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