Faith Ringgold (born October 8, 1930 in Harlem, New York City) is an African American artist, best known for her painted story quilts. She is professor emeritus in the University of California, San Diego visual art department.
Faith Ringgold was born and raised in Harlem and educated at the City College of New York, where she studied with Robert Gathmey and Yasuo Kuniyoshi. She received an M.A. from the college in 1959. She was greatly influenced by the fabric she worked with at home with her mother, who was a fashion designer, and has used fabric in many of her artworks. She is especially well known for her painted story quilts which blur the line between “high art” and “craft” by combining painting, quilted fabric, and storytelling.
She modeled her “story quilts” on the Buddhist Thangkas, lovely pictures painted on fabric and quilted or brocaded, which could then be easily rolled up and transported. She has influenced numerous modern artists, including Linda Freeman, and known some of the greatest African American artists personally, including Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Betye Saar.
Her work is in the permanent collection of many museums including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and other museums, mostly in New York City.
In addition, Ringgold has written and illustrated seventeen children’s books. Her first book, Tar Beach, won the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award.