Quilts and Human Rights Programming Series


Open at the Pick Museum of Anthropology

September 5 - May 11, 2018

Group Singing“Quilts and Human Rights” Community Celebration and Concert

May 3, 12:15-12:45 p.m. – Pick Museum of Anthropology

Join the Pick Museum of Anthropology as we thank our NIU community for making “Quilts and Human Rights” one of the most successful exhibits ever hosted at the museum! Hear the premier performance of a song inspired by “Quilts and Human Rights” arranged by NIU’s cappella group The Harmelodics, and thank you remarks from exhibit curator Laura McDowell Hopper and Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Director Kristen Myers. See the “Quilts and Human Rights” exhibition one more time before the exhibit closes on May 11. This event is co-sponsored by the Pick Museum and the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.


"Quilts and Human Rights" Exhibit Opening

Keynote Speech by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and Activist Quilt Block Workshop

Civil rights activist, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. gave a keynote speech during the kickoff for our "Quilts and Human Rights" exhibit. Organized by the Michigan State University Museum, “Quilts and Human Rights” includes over 40 quilts centered around themes of social justice honoring champions of human rights, documenting quiltmaking as a means of coping with oppression, and examining how quilts raise awareness of global social issues. The Pick Museum staff has expanded the exhibit by adding fifteen more quilts made between 2008 and today highlighting the last decade’s booming modern quilting movement. 

This event also included an Activist Quilt Block Workshop led by Sara Trail, founder of the Social Justice Sewing Academy where participants will learn how to make a social justice themed quilt block. All of the blocks made at the workshop were sewn together and became a quilt about NIU’s current activist and political climate.

This exhibition is generously supported by Cordogan Clark & Associates Inc., Michigan State University Museum, and NIU’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. For more information, call the Pick Museum at 815-753-2011.

Quilter Chawne Kimber Explores Intersections of Activism and Textile Art

Award-winning activist quilter Dr. Chawne Kimber gave a lecture entitled, “In Tall Cotton.” Kimber presented her quilt autobiography, explaining her development into an artist over the past decade. The main themes of her work are identity and difference, censorship, social justice, and Black Lives Matter. These themes are explored in a modern aesthetic. Kimber’s presentation also features a trunk show of quilts that can be viewed on campus only at the lecture.

Kimber has exhibited quilts and embroidered works in art galleries and at festivals across the United States. Her quilts have been shown at QuiltCon, the International Quilt Festival, Tallgrass Art Gallery, and more. Kimber also teaches quilting techniques nationally and her work can be seen on her blog Completely Cauchy. Three of Kimber’s quilts are featured in the Pick Museum’s current exhibit “Quilts and Human Rights,” including “The One for Eric G.” which she made after Eric Garner was killed.

In addition to her work as a textile artist, Kimber is also a professor of mathematics at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. On October 11 at 12 p.m., Kimber will present a graduate colloquium seminar at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality in Reavis Hall Room 103. Her seminar, titled “Lab and/verses Studio,” will describe recent explorations of the artistic practices of a handful of women scientists, including herself. She will focus particularly on the various intersections of identities at play and how these subjects make decisions with those in mind.

Aram Han Sifuentes Protest Banner Lending Library Workshop

This workshop was a hands on Protest Banner Lending Library workshop led by Chicago based textile artist Aram Han Sifuentes. Sifuentes showed examples of other banners and then lead participants in making their own. Banners made at the workshops became part of a repository at NIU where students can check them out and take them to future demonstrations.

Action Card Initiative

The Pick Museum of Anthropology partnered with five local organizations, Huskie Food PantryHope Haven of DeKalb County, Inc.Safe Passage, Inc.Family Service Agency of DeKalb County, and American Indian Center - Chicago to raise awareness of needs in the local community. 

Gina-Adams-Treaty-Of-Middle-Plantation.JPG" Honor is Hereby Pledged: Broken Treaty Quilts” Activist Quilter Lecture

Activist quilter, Gina Adams presented, “Its Honor is Hereby Pledged: Broken Treaty Quilts” on Tuesday, February 20. Gina discussed how she utilizes textile art to expose and confront the history of injustices faced by Native Americans.

“Sewing together injustice with an object of comfort stirs deep emotion. For I, as all people of Native American descent, have carried around a heart-wrenching history, a burden and a loss. Now I choose to weave that over-arching sadness into a source of tremendous comfort. I am taking the burden of the broken treaty placing it on top of the work of the original Colonists. Putting the words of the Broken Treaty on quilt subjects the Colonists to the truth; and forces them to experience their own unhooked treaties.” – Gina Adams

Gina gave a lecture entitled, “Indigenous Feminism” on February 20 at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. Visit Gina's website to learn more about her and to see some of her work. 

This lecture series is proudly presented by the Pick Museum of Anthropology, the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality and the NIU School of Art and Design.

Contact Us

James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick
Museum of Anthropology
Cole Hall 114


The Museum will be closed for the summer beginning May 12, 2018 and will re-open in the fall 2018. 


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