Friday, August 10, 2012

Winfred Rembert's Southern Memories

 I visited the Greenville (SC) County Museum yesterday and, since I always am alert to food-related arts, I immediately noticed Winfred  Rembert"s images.

 Winfred Rembert  Flour Bread (dye on tooled leather)

Winfred  Rembert (b. 1945,  Cuthbert,  Georgia), The Artist at Work

Rembert, a native of Cuthbert, Ga., grew up on a plantation where young black children, discouraged from attending school, were thrust into a life of backbreaking field labor.
Rembert talked freely about how he was arrested for fighting in 1965 and wound up in jail. After a later struggle with a prison guard, Rembert got away in a stolen car and was sent back to prison for seven years, serving on a chain gang.
While in a Reidsville, Ga. prison, Rembert learned how to tool leather, crafting billfolds with simple geometric designs.
After he was released from prison, Rembert got married, moved north to New Haven, Conn., and found a job as a longshoreman.
For 25 years, Rembert largely set aside leatherworking, only occasionally making a belt or purse for family.
It was at age 52 that Rembert rediscovered a talent that would lead to national exhibitions.

Whether or not Rembert should be labeled a "folk artist" is part of the discussions about folk & fine arts. See Vlach and Bronner, Folk Art and Art Worlds. UMI Research, 1986


Rembert, Dinner Time in the Cotton Fields

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