We Flew over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold

We Flew over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold

by Faith Ringgold
     
 
'Faith Ringgold's memoir tells us what it means to pursue a personal vision, even if it opposes centuries of racial and sexual caste systems, is sometimes obscured by them, seems to make one's own children jealous, and often produces loneliness. In words that are as direct, honest, full of color and life as her painting, Ringgold gives each reader the greatest gift of

Overview

'Faith Ringgold's memoir tells us what it means to pursue a personal vision, even if it opposes centuries of racial and sexual caste systems, is sometimes obscured by them, seems to make one's own children jealous, and often produces loneliness. In words that are as direct, honest, full of color and life as her painting, Ringgold gives each reader the greatest gift of all--courage to be one's unique and universal self.'--Gloria Steinem

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Contemporary artist and children's book author Ringgold (Tar Beach) chronicles her efforts as a black woman, born in 1930s Harlem, in fighting sexism and racism to make her mark in the world. Her socially conscious paintings (The Flag Is Bleeding, 1967; Die, 1967), story quilts (Who's Afraid of Aunt Jemima? 1983) and various sculptures, dolls, masks and live performances have all received favorable review attention. The artist has also enjoyed a long and varied teaching career. Unfortunately, this portrait is filled with contradictions that often undermine Ringgold's sincerity and prevent her from establishing an emotional bond with the reader. Though she lists her activist stance in support of rights and opportunities for African Americans and, more broadly, for all women, her narratives fail to convey the passion of her described convictions. Ringgold stresses the importance of ``family'' and ``values,'' but her unconventional marriage, living and child-rearing arrangements do not reflect her good intentions. The end result reads like the sanitized diary of a self-absorbed woman. (Nov.)
Library Journal
This lively and delightfully written autobiography is set against a background of cultural and political upheaval. Ringgold's struggle to establish herself as a black artist and her need to define the meaning of a "woman's art" are the major themes found throughout this bookindeed, in all her projects. A talented painter, she is also known for her work in soft sculpture, textiles, masks, performance art, and writing children's books. Ringgold is represented in many public and private collections, ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and Chicago's Harold Washington Library Center to Brooklyn's Crown Heights Public School 22. This book is well illustrated with family photos as well as examples of the artist's enormous output. Recommended for most public and art libraries and those with a special focus on feminist and African American studies.Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.
Hazel Rochman
Ringgold writes with candor and warmth about her struggle and her "dreams coming true" as an African American, a woman, and an artist, from her childhood in Harlem in the 1930s through her political awakening in the 1960s to her current success "making art, making waves, making money." Racism is always there, even now--in the art world and in the fancy suburb where she lives--but so are friends, family, and celebration. She's frank about her difficulties with her daughters, about her conflicts as a feminist in the black community, about the white male art establishment that tried to dismiss her work as "protest" art. Small family snapshots are on every page, and there's a 30-page insert with color reproductions of her art, including her amazing story quilts, such as "Tar Beach," which led to her Caldecott Honor Book and a career in children's literature. There's a refreshing lack of elitism here, despite the underlying seriousness. This memoir will be read for its aesthetics, its commitment, and its common sense.
From the Publisher
“Bridging is the major motif of Ringgold’s life. . . . She is a bridge between the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights era. She is a bridge between her mother’s applied art of fashion design and her own fine art of painting and story quilts. She is a bridge between the black power movement and the women’s movement. And she is a bridge between the abstract art that dominated the ‘60s and the issue-oriented art that connected with viewers’ hearts—and lives.”—Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Faith Ringgold has already won my heart as an artist, as a woman, as an African American, and now with her entry into the world of autobiography (where I dwell), she has taken my heart again. She writes so beautifully.”—Maya Angelou

“Faith Ringgold has created a rich and highly informative work not only of her own life as an American in general but as an African American in particular. These memoirs are a part of American history—of what it means to be an artist, a writer, and a philosopher in our society.”—Jacob Lawrence

“Faith Ringgold’s exuberant and original art has made her one of America’s more important artists and a feminist heroine. Now her wonderfully honest memoirs will resonate with all political and creative women who are still fighting the battles Ringgold has won.”—Lucy Lippard, author of The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Essays on Feminist Art

“In words that are as direct, honest, full of color and life as her paintings, Ringgold gives each reader the greatest gift of all—courage to be one’s own unique and universal self.”—Gloria Steinem

“The story of Ringgold’s triumph—achieved through sheer determination, savvy, and self-conviction—is both accessible and inspiring.”—Lowery Stokes Sims, executive director, the Studio Museum in Harlem

Joyce Owens Anderson
“Ringgold provides juicy autobiographical stories, supplemented with personal photographs as well as ample illustrations and descriptions of her work. It is a memoir every artist should read. . . . The book is informative, forthright, and fun, and is a great teaching tool for both emerging and established artists.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821220719
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
11/28/1995
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
8.01(w) x 9.33(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Faith Ringgold was born in Harlem in 1930. She began painting more than forty years ago, and has exhibited in museums in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. In addition to Tar Beach, the children’s books she has written and illustrated include Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky, If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks, and My Dream of Martin Luther King. Ringgold has received more than seventy-five awards, fellowships, citations, and honors, including seventeen honorary doctorates. She lives in Englewood, New Jersey.

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