Patricia Kaersenhout’s textile works Food for Thought (2018) depict women in action.
Portraits of Claudia Jones, Elma Francois, Gertie Archimedes, Paulette Nardal and Suzanne Cesaire are rendered in Kaersenhout’s distinctive mode of digitally and traditionally printed fabrics, both hand- and machine-embroidered, with highlights of fine bead-work and appliqué.
Kaersenhout’s selection of these five important black scholars, journalists, poets, activists hinges on their commonalities: all of Caribbean descent, but influential world-wide; all part of communist, Pan-Africanist, and transnational feminist movements; all active in the second half of the 20th century, though largely forgotten or erased from popular memory. Each of these women used her lifetime to fight racism, poverty and general inequality.
Kaersenhout shows these women as heroic figures, based on Sovjet propaganda posters that express the glorification of the proletariat. Each banner is framed with printed cottons that the artist has collected from the African continent. Intricate bead-work highlights their features.