Works in the Collection
Chawne Monique Kimber is an African American mathematician and quilter known for expressing her political activism in her quilts. She is a professor at Lafayette College, where she heads the department of mathematics.
Kimber comes from a family of cotton farmers and quilters in Alabama, and cotton was central in the lives of the women of her family–from picking to ginning to sewing, with quilting emerging as the main mode of self-expression available. Patchwork was sewn from worn denim and calico clothing and layered with the discarded cottonseed and fluff from the gin houses for insulation to make quilts.
Inspired by the quilts made by her ancestors in the late 1800s, she interprets traditional forms in an improvisational style using vibrant modern colors of commercially available American-farmed, processed, and woven cotton. Some of the designs are geometric romps that emphasize the complex forms of negative space that naturally arise, while others utilize unusually small scaling to exaggerate shapes and tonal sequences. Using the quilt medium to respond to current race-related social justice issues, she also makes minimal two-tone appliquéd self-portraits in a street art style.