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African Heritage Inspires New Batik Tapestry Exhibition at STL Airport

Posted on May 07, 2019 in Art

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A new exhibition curated by The Griot Museum of Black History and Culture at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) uses tapestry quilts to stimulate social activism and bridge cultural gaps. The exhibition, Batik Story Quilts: Yoruba and Other Cultural Proverbs, displays Batik tapestry quilts made by artist Tunde Odulande.  

Drawing from his Yoruba heritage and culture, these vibrant story quilts to provide a compelling visual backdrop for public dialogue around socio-cultural issues. When creating his work, Odulande first uses the batik method of hand-dyeing multiple layers of pattern, imagery and color on cloth; then, uses these vibrant cloths as components in his pictorial quilts. Odulande’s hand-dyed fabrics and intricate patterns create visual guides and cues, challenging the public to reconsider any preconceived notions regarding issues affecting our world.

Tunde Odulande is a multi-disciplinary, internationally acclaimed, art-activist who has exhibited, taught, lectured, studied, and traveled extensively in Nigeria, America and Europe. His work is in the collections of private homes and galleries, museums, and public buildings, and has appeared in numerous publications. Odulande is a Member of the Visual Artists Network of the United States (VAN), and is the founder of Toki Memorial Art Centre (TMAC), a community art training school in Nigeria.

Batik Story Quilts: Yoruba and Other Cultural Proverbs is composed of seven quilts, “The Fairytale of the Blue Ghosts and Their Magical Spree,” Musicians Make Music While the Audience Makes Orchestration,” “Has Man Finally Arrived?,” “If you Don’t Know Where You Are Going, Any Road Will Do,” and “Our Heritage” are on display across from carousel 1 in the Terminal 1 Baggage Claim area. “Sweet Mother" and “Mask of Peace” are on display near the A Concourse entrance. Batik Story Quilts: Yoruba and Other Cultural Proverbs is now on display through October 23, 2019 as part of the Lambert Art & Culture Program’s temporary exhibitions program. The program is supported by the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis.

The Griot Museum of Black History and Culture was chosen to exhibit in the Lambert Art & Culture Program through the Airport’s seven-member Airport Art Advisory Committee. Current members are Lisa Cakmak, Associate Curator of Ancient Art at Saint Louis Art Museum; Ellen Gale, Executive Director Clayton Chamber of Commerce; Shelley Hagen; Leslie Markle, Curator of Public Art, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum; Kiku Obata, Founding Principal of Kiku Obata & Co.; Roseann Weiss, consultant with ART+; and design artist and illustrator Carlos Zamora. 

The Lambert Art and Culture Program builds upon the culturally rich legacy of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Our mission is to elevate the visitor experience and uplift regional pride through the presentation of artwork created by local, national, and international artists. Currently, there are 29 works of art or collections of art (temporary, permanent or on-loan) on view at the Airport. For more information, visit