Chawne Kimber, there's some left, 2019

Chawne Kimber, there’s some left, 2019, hand-dyed cotton, linen, wool, silk, improvisationally pieced and hand quilted, 37 x 48 in. overall.

Chawne Kimber made there’s some left specifically for this exhibit, improvising as she pieced and quilted it. She combined a rough beige weave suitable for coats, a blue cotton-linen blend, a gray wool with tiny pinstripes in beige and bright blue, and a flour sack hand-dyed pink—all what she calls “drab-but-classy” colors that mimic sugar packets. The quilt declaims: “Someone is using my sugar bowl and stealing the spoon”—an aside from a friend that struck Kimber’s fancy. She explores its contradictions in a middle ground between Nina Simone singing “I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl” and outside control that both uses and steals.

“Uppity negro” blasts from the quilt titled not showing proper deference to wypipo. “I am I am still I am not still I am still not free” stutters and rages the quilt titled still not. “you are fucking awesome” affirms the youthful quilt yes, you are. The voices of Kimber’s quilts need to be separate from their titles, as what we think—our identity—can be obscured by how we allow ourselves to be labeled. there’s some left manifests self-determination and fights complicity. “Yes, there’s a bit left for me,” is one way to put it, but anger at arbitrary power lingers a lot longer than a teaspoon of sugar.

Part of Passing Bittersweet, a 2020 exhibition at the Williams Center Gallery. Find more of Chawne Kimber’s work at her website.