On the occasion of Hauser & Wirth’s Los Angeles iteration of the traveling exhibition, ‘The New Bend,’ curated by Executive Director & Chief Curator of The Kitchen, Legacy Russell, we welcomed LA-based textile artist Diedrick Brackens and fourth generation Gee’s Bend quilter Mary Margaret Pettway for a special conversation.
‘The New Bend’ showcases 13 contemporary artists whose unique visual vernaculars exist in tender dialogue with, and in homage to the contributions of the Gee’s Bend Alabama quilters—Black American women in collective cooperation and creative economic production—and their enduring legacy as a radical meeting place, a prompt, and as intergenerational inspiration.
About Diedrick Brackens Diedrick Brackens is an LA-based textile artist, originally from Mexia, Texas. Brackens received his Master of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Studio Museum Harlem, NY among others. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Joyce Alexander Wein Prize in 2018, the Marciano Artadia Award in 2019, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 2019 and the American Craft Council Emerging Voices Award in 2019. He currently serves as a Board Member for Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
About Mary Margaret Pettway Born and raised in Gee’s Bend (Boykin), Alabama, Mary Margaret Pettway is a fourth-generation quilter, and daughter of Lucy T. Pettway. She is a member of the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective, founded in 2003 to promote and market quilts from the community of Gee’s Bend. She has taught quilting workshops throughout the southeast and is a regular instructor at Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center in Camden, Alabama. In 2018 she was named an Alabama Humanities Fellow by the Alabama Humanities Foundation. She currently serves as the Board Chair for Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
About Souls Grown Deep Foundation Souls Grown Deep advocates the inclusion of Black artists from the South in the canon of American art history and fosters economic empowerment, racial and social justice, and educational advancement in the communities that gave rise to these artists. Souls Grown Deep derives its name from a 1921 poem by Langston Hughes (1902-67) titled The Negro Speaks of Rivers, the last line of which is ‘My soul has grown deep like the rivers.’
Souls Grown Deep Community Partnership pursues racial, social, and economic justice by grant-making, values-aligned investments, underwriting projects, advocacy, and forging collaborations with a variety of like-minded civic organizations, businesses, and nonprofits