This work was created in celebration of the 40th anniversary of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Ntozake Shange’s first work and most acclaimed theater piece, which premiered in 1976. For Colored Girls consists of a series of poetic monologues accompanied by dance and music, a form Shange coined as the choreopoem. The piece is a series of 20 separate poems choreographed to music that weaves interconnected stories of love, empowerment, struggle and loss into a complex representation of sisterhood. The original cast consists of seven nameless African-American women only identified by the colors they are assigned: They are the Lady in Red, Lady in Orange, Lady in Yellow, Lady in Green, Lady in Blue, Lady in Brown, and Lady in Purple. Subjects from rape, abandonment, abortion and domestic violence are tackled.
This artwork illustrates the poem of the Lady in Orange, who reflects on her life as a dancer, the music and experiences that brought her joy, and the heartbreak that ensued. It has exhibited at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, NY, the Houston Museum of African American Culture, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the exhibition, I Found God in Myself exhibition, curated by Peter “Souleo” Wright in commemoration of Shange’s seminal work.
Quilt, fiber, and mixed media artist Laura R. Gadson explores and often blends the worlds of quilting, felting, painting, collage and Fine Art as a result of her love affair with textiles, paper, and mixed materials. She is a graduate of the renowned Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the City College of New York. Her work has been widely exhibited, reproduced as public art in her community, and is proudly part of various public and notable private collections, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She is co-founder of the Harlem Aesthetic – an entrepreneurial venture that showcases artist and artisans of the African Diaspora at the Gadson Gallery” – her Harlem, NY brownstone, studio, and personal show place since 1993.