In Memoriam: Faith Ringgold, 1930-2024

Faith Ringgold, visual artist, activist, and long-time professor with the University of California, San Diego, passed away on April 12. She was 93 years old.

Ringgold’s career as an artist spanned nearly six decades. She was a mixed media artist, painting on many different materials including what she is best known for: her narrative quilts. Her painted quilts and other artworks were centered around African American representation, anti-racist activism, and feminism. She was also the author of 20 children’s books, the first of which was Tar Beach (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), inspired by one of her quilt’s with the same name.

In addition to her artistic endeavors, Ringgold had a long career in education. She taught as an art teacher in New York City public schools throughout the 1960s and 1970s. During this time she also lectured at Pratt Institute, Banks Street College of Education, and Wagner College, all located in the New York City metropolitan area. She left teaching in 1973 to focus on her art full-time. In 1987, she joined the faculty of the visual arts department at the University of California, San Diego. She taught there for the next 15 years, retiring as a professor emerita of art in 2002.

Ringgold was a two-time graduate of the City University of New York where she received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in visual art. She was the recipient of 23 honorary doctorates.

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