* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Bisa Butler is an American fiber artist known for her quilted portraits and designs celebrating black life. She has exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Epcot Center, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and other venues.
Bisa explains the work by saying, “In my work I am telling the story— this African American side— of the American life.History is the story of men and women, but the narrative is controlled by those who hold the pen. My community has been marginalized for hundreds of years. While have been right beside our white counterparts experiencing and creating history, our contributions and perspectives have been ignored, unrecorded and lost. It is only a few years ago that it was acknowledges that the White house was built by slaves. Right there in the seat of power of our country African Americans were creating and contributing while their names were lost to history. My subjects are African Americans from ordinary walks of life who may have sat for a formal family portrait or may have been documented by a passing photographer. Like the builders of the White House, they have no names or captions to tell us who they were.”
Butler graduated Cum Laude from Howard University, with a Bachelor's in Fine Art degree.
Butler was a high school art teacher for 13 years; 10 in the Newark Public Schools and 3 at her own alma mater, Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Her portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai was featured as a cover for Time Magazine’s special issue honoring the 100 Women of the Year in 2020.