Artist showcases African quilts at local community center

Leanora Erica Mims’ quilts tell a story of tragedy and triumph for African Americans. The brightly colored and boldly patterned wall hangings were featured Oct. 4 at the Southside Community Center in Ithaca, N.Y.

Click here for an interview with Leanora Erica Mims

 Mims learned how to make story quilts when she was an undergraduate studying arts at Cornell University. Now, she works as a public relations director for Estella’s Brilliant Bus, but she still quilts in her free time.

Mims’ work focuses on African tribal history from Ghana and Gambia, which is depicted in the quilts she created for the Southside Community Center gallery.

The gallery, which has an “Art In Color” art space that highlights and supports new and upcoming artists, featured Mims’ quilts that portray her perspective of the African Diaspora.

Mims likes using quilts to express herself because they’re multi-purposeful.

“They can envelope you in the warmth of your community,” she said. “Sometimes portraits can’t do that. They’re beautiful, but you can’t take them down and clothe yourself with the history of your family.”

The exhibit displays Mims’ sense of cultural pride, said Nagiane Lacka, program manager at Southside Community Center. Lacka said that she hopes for a positive reaction of the gallery from the community.

“I think it will be comforting because the exhibit is a celebration of family and heritage,” she said. “That’s kind of an affirmation and inspiration to continue to be proud of where we are from.”

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