Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hide Little Children by Faith Ringgold

This painting was done by Faith in 1964, the year after we had begun school at New Lincoln in Harlem. It is called Hide Little Children for many reasons I am sure. Among them my mother's concern for our safety in the context of integration in the North. When this painting emerged and she explained that it was about us and our white friends, it gave me a good feeling because I read its message as highly protective. Our play and thus our relationships were hidden from view in an idyllic landscape, but as in William Blake's notion of childhood and innocence, it wasn't going to be possible to grow up, venture out and hold on to that innocence at the same time. That was just about right.

The American People Series #15: Hide Little Children 1964
(Oil on canvas) 36" x 32" Private Collection.

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About Me

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I am a writer and a professor of English at the City College of New York, and the CUNY Graduate Center. My books include Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1979), Invisibility Blues (1990), Black Popular Culture (1992), and Dark Designs and Visual Culture (2005). I write cultural criticism frequently and am currently working on a project on creativity and feminism among the women in my family, some of which is posted on the Soul Pictures blog.