Faith Ringgold: The Power of Silence by Kailee Elizabeth Cross

Due to the efforts of the Randolph-Macon College Art History program and the Black Studies program, Faith Ringgold visited the campus in spring 2012.  I participated in her quilting workshop which was interesting and a very fun way to get to know her.  Unfortunately at the time, I was a freshman and truly did not realize the power of  the woman I met, but as I have matured I have come to respect and admire her immensely.  She had a general love for meeting people and always wanted to know different perspectives.  Being a teacher, she worked really well with us and treated us in manner which we felt comfortable.  I had the great pleasure of standing by her and shaking her hand, which is one of the greatest moments of my life.  She gave a speech in which she talked about her life and achievements, while also explaining some of her more well-known artwork.  Being an undergraduate Art History student, by this point I was on the edge of my seat ready to explode from excitement from what she was saying.  These were the paintings I saw on the projector in class and now the actual artist is sitting here telling me stories of why she made her painting a certain way?  I was in absolute heaven.  When Faith discussed Picasso’s Studio I was so thrilled because that was had been my favorite piece by her for some time.  It is remarkable to have an experience in which you meet an artist because they are a part of the masterpiece too.  If I could do it over, I would have done my homework and really analyzed her artwork to the degree which I do today, but to defend myself I had not had the experience in Art History which I have today.


Faith Ringold – March 29, 2012 at  RandolphMacon College


Dr. Alphine Jefferson (Chair of the Black Studies Program) and Faith Ringgold

Dr. Alphine Jefferson (Chair of the Black Studies Program) and Faith Ringgold



The point of writing this publication was not to simply learn more about Faith Ringgold, but more importantly to further educate students on how one can learn so much from looking at a piece of art.  When observing the public at museums over the years, it saddens me that most people truly don’t take the time to understand and value the work.  Simply admiring  artwork for it’s beauty is just scratching the surface, while taking time to really view it may reveal the meaning and symbolism deeper within.  I found that after I gave my presentation on Faith Ringgold, where I analyzed the works of art above, the students were shocked as to how much was truly being said silently by her paintbrush.  As I hope to be a future college-level educator, I took many elements of how Professor Dale Shields conducts himself as a professor which I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  He is a remarkable man who saw my passion for art history and gave me the confidence be believe that someday I could be in his shoes as a professor.

Professor Shields and me

@ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Shields – Kailee Elizabeth Cross

Kailee Elizabeth Cross  is a student at Randolph-Macon College (The Black Studies Program)

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