Posted: March 9, 2022
Join us for Free Admission Afternoon with Cookie Washington on Friday, April 22 from 12 – 4 pm. Local residents with zip codes of 294- will receive free admission with proof of residency. This offer is only redeemable in person at the Aiken-Rhett Historic House.
Cookie Washington, is a celebrated fiber artist, curator, and community leader based in Charleston, SC. For over twenty five years she has been a working studio artist. Her passion is fiber art muralism that celebrates Black history, spirituality and the Divine Feminine. This solo exhibition, Cookie Washington: Way-Shower, showcases her recent art quilts and fiber dolls.
“The Wayshower is someone who challenges the status quo, who bravely and boldly paves a new perspective, who enlightens and uplifts, and encourages action. I want to make art that challenges people to feel, to learn, to make art that makes one soar and annoys, art that challenges the viewing public to learn more about the subject and their own feelings about it. I have a fire in the belly, a passionate urge to create art that is griot in nature. I want the viewer to come away changed after having experienced my work. I am not at all interested in creating art that matches your furniture.”
About Cookie Washington
Torreah “Cookie” Washington is a fourth generation needle worker, and the first in her family to take up art quilting. She feels her connection very deeply to her foremothers whenever a needle and bit of cloth is in her hands. “I am a mostly self-taught quilt artist. I have been a fiber artist of some sort my whole life. At four years old, my Granddaddy paid me fifty cents for the first “Barbie” dress I ever designed.”
Born in Rabat, Morocco, she has traveled extensively, and has made her home for the last 33 years in Charleston, SC. In addition to her ongoing studio art practice, she has curated & produced exhibitions. In 2001 Cookie saw a need to create spaces and opportunities for black textile artists to exhibit and grow. Since then she has judged, organized and curated numerous exhibitions that have traveled to museums and galleries around America. Ms. Washington’s themed exhibits have included, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Black Inventors, Zora Neale Hurston, Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore, and a deeply personal tribute exhibition honoring the victims of the terrorist attack on the pastors and congregants of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and a follow on exhibit a year later titled: A Dialogue in Black and White. For the last 16 years, she has been the curator of the annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition, partnering with the North Charleston Cultural Arts department. The exhibit has traveled through the South Carolina State Museum’s Traveling Exhibition Program and is wildly popular.
Cookie has been featured in three documentary films about African American Art Quilters. “The Wayshowers”, which she shared executive producer credit on, with Susan Scott Hester, and the film “Skin Quilt” by Lauren Cross, as well as the 2020’s “Gratitude”, a short film by Gavin Shelton.
Cookie says, “I find that textile design emits a spirit, a presence, an energy, a vitality unlike that of any other medium. Quilting is in my blood. Enslaved Africans used quilting to tell their stories. I wish to keep this tradition alive, and through my work validate our culture by weaving stories of the African or African-American experience into my quilts, just as my foremothers did almost four hundred years ago. Even though I’m working in a medium that is centuries old, I believe art quilters are shifting the historical to accommodate our new application. Art quilting, an emerging art form, is a fairly small part of the art world. I am thrilled to be part of it.”
Photo: “Movin’ On Up to Higher Ground” by Cookie Washington, courtesy of the artist.