AMA book club to discuss Faith Ringgold memoir

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Feb. 26—ALBANY — "We Flew Over the Bridge," the memoir of artist Faith Ringgold, will be the topic of discussion at the next meeting of the AMA Art Lovers Book Club. The club will meet at 6 p.m. on March 15 at the Albany Museum of Art.

There is no cost to attend AMA Art Lovers Book Club meetings and no formal membership requirement. Those attending may bring a favorite beverage to enjoy during the discussion. Participants are asked to RSVP via the link at www.albanymuseum.com/book-club by noon on March 15 so that adequate seating may be provided. Annie Vanoteghem, AMA director of education and public programming, will facilitate the discussion.

"We Flew over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold" shares the story of the life of one of the country's pre-eminent artists and an award-winning children's book author. Born in Harlem, N.Y., in 1930, she is a painter, mixed-media sculptor, performance artist, writer and lecturer.

The path to success for Ringgold, now a professor emeritus of art at the University of California in San Diego, has not been an easy one. In her illustrated memoir, she looks back and shares the story of her struggles, growth and triumphs. She recalls how, as an African-American artist, she had to overcome a wall of prejudices as she refined her artistic vision and raised her family. It is a story full of warm family memories and sustaining friendships, community involvement, and hope for the future.

Ringgold, who has an M.A. in Visual Art from the City College of New York, was initially inspired by African art in the 1960s, and began making tankas, soft sculptures and masks, in the 1970s. In the late 1970s, she traveled to Nigeria and Ghana to see the rich tradition of masks that have continued to be the greatest influence on her work. In the 1980s, she extended her work with tankas to create paintings using the quilt medium.

Ringgold's artworks, which include story quilts and politically charged paintings, are found in the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and other major museums around the world, as well as in the private collections of Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey.

Her children's books, including the Caldecott Honor Book "Tar Beach," have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. "Tar Beach," published in 1991, won more than 20 awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award for best illustrated children's book.

She followed it up in 1992 with "Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky," and in 1993 with "Dinner at Aunt Connie's." "We Flew Over the Bridge," her first book for an adult audience, was published in 1995. To date, Ringgold has illustrated 17 children's books. Her most recent books are "Harlem Renaissance Party" (2015) and "We Came to America" (2016).

The final meeting in the third season of the Art Lovers Book Club will be May 17 when the club discusses "A Piece of the World," a novel by Christina Baker Kline.