Black Meetings and Tourism

Sep/Oct 2011

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BY PATRICIA ANN JORDAN AFRICANS IN INDIA AND ANGELS IN WISCONIN G reetings Readers. Summer is slipping away (or by the time you read this, has slipped away). I hope you enjoyed yours. Mine was "mild," not as exciting as I would have liked. No exotic travel, getaways or jaunts. Just stayed local. Did enjoymusic, family, food and other that Los Angeles has to offer. Hope I get to see the exhibits below. Hope you do, too. Smiles! "Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India" Stunning, colorful, patchwork quilts known as kawandi and made only by craftswomen living in the little known Siddi communities ofAfricans in India are on display at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) as part of its explo- ration of how traditional practices are adapted over decades throughout the African Diaspora.The exhibition presents over 30 quilts of a variety of styles and techniques and also the compelling story of the Siddis, descendants of EastAfrican slaves, sailors and merchants who current- ly live in the highlands of the Karantaka and Goa regions on the western coast of the Indian subcontinent. Now Siddi quilts are being seen outside India for the first time, in San Francisco. "Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India"opened atMoADin July. The trav- eling exhibition consisting of 32 quilts will be on view until September 18, 2011. "Soulful Stitching"was co-curated by Dr.Henry J.Drewal, Evjue-BascomProfessor ofAfrican andAfricanDiasporaArts at the University ofWisconsin-Madison, and by Dr. Sarah K. Khan, director of the Tasting Cultures Foundation.The quilts in the exhibitionweremade bymembers of the nonprofit Siddi Women'sQuilting Cooperative,which is keeping this tradition vibrant. It's fascinating to note that while they have adopted some 10 cultural aspects of Indian society, for decades the Siddis have also retained, transformed and passed on from genera- tion to generation certain distinct cultural and artistic traditions fromAfrica. More Info: or| (415) 358-7200 AngelMuseum In Beloit,Wisconsin, a small city near the Illinois/Wisconsin border is a one-of-a- kind Angel Museum, which houses the world's largest privately held angel collec- tion. Listed in the Guinness Book of WorldRecords,and visited by people from around the world, theAngelMuseum dis- plays thousands of the more than 12,000 angels in the Berg Collection and over 900 black angels donated by TV host Oprah Winfrey. The angels aremade of over 100 differ- ent materials from over 50 different coun- tries. Since its opening in 1998 the Angel Museum has had close to 200,000 visitors. The collection,ormore accurately the pas- sion, began when on vacation in 1976 Joyce and Lowell Berg first became enchanted with an Italian bisque of two angels on a see-saw at an antique shop in Florida. The angel quest just continued fromthere. In 1998, Joyce and Lowell transformed a historic downtownBeloit church into the Angel Museum. When asked why she wanted anAngelMuseum, Joyce simply responded,"I want to see a place where goodness prevails." For you to see this place go or call (608) 362-9099. Editor's Note: In February, theAngelMuseumwas host to over 55 community citizens gathered to honor the six Hometown Heroes.This annual event began in 2003 and was initiated because theAngelMuseumwanted to recognize local African-American leaders and their contributions to not only the Beloit Community, but to the entire country. Black Meetings & Tourism September/October 2011:

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