Cal Humanities

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

The Art of Storytelling—Quilts of Oakland

Quilts of Oakland

August 25–December 28, 2016

Our first exhibit featured quilts with an Oakland-themed narrative by members of the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland. From the Black Panthers to the fire of the Oakland/Berkeley Hills, these beautiful and detailed quilts help us to understand and visualize what makes up the unique perspective of Oakland.



AAQGO: Oak Town Blues - Niambi KeeOak Town Blues – Niambi Kee

41 x 26 Inches

Oak Town Blues represents the many cultures, ethnicities, religions and socioeconomic groups that call Oakland “Home,” as does its distinctive and recognizable skyline.



AAQGO: Power to the Peaple - Rosita ThomasPower to the People – Rosita Thomas

40 x 45 Inches

The Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland 50 years ago. This quilt is a tribute to some important, but less well known facts about the Black Panther Party, their community survival programs and 10 Point Platform.



AAQGO: Firestorm - Marion ColemanFirestorm – Marion Coleman

37 x 42 Inches

Firestorm interprets the fire that occurred in the Oakland/Berkeley, CA hills in 1991.


AAQGO: Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame - Ora ClayBlack Filmmakers Hall of Fame – Ora Clay

35 x 43 Inches

The Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Inc. (BFHFI) and its co-founder, Mary Perry Smith were the inspiration for this quilt. The Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Inc. was a program of the Cultural and Ethnic Affairs Guild of the Oakland Museum of California. The BFHFI held a star studded Oscar Micheaux awards Celebration each February at Oakland’s Paramount Theater from 1973 until 2006.



AAQGO: Oakland There - Sews & Sews Mini GroupOakland There – Sew and Sews Mini Group

33.5 x 71.5 Inches
(Patricia Bailey, Blanche Brown, Marsha Carter, Marilyn Handis, Debbie Mason, Norma Mason, Carolyn Pope, Dolores Vitero Presley, Ann Seals Robinson, Julia Vitero)

“There is no There There,” is the famous misquote of famous author Gertrude Stein (1874- 1946) referring to Oakland, CA.

Nearly 45 years after Ms. Stein lived in Oakland she returned to find that Oakland had urbanized and changed from the pastoral place she remembered.  Her house was no longer there, her school was no longer there, her park was no longer there and her synagogue was no longer there. So for her, there was no longer a there there. The quote was merely an expression of painful nostalgia and not a condemnation of Oakland.

The 10 blocks quilt represent Lake Merritt Pavilion, Fairyland Gates, Oakland Tribune Building, Grand Lake Theater, Port of Oakland, Chinatown, view from the Oakland Hills, Woodminister Park, Lake Merritt Walking Path and the Golden State Warriors.



AAQGO: Un Barrio de Oakland - Ernestine TrilUn Barrio – Ernestine Tril

37 x 37.5 Inches
This piece is inspired by the vibrant life and activity in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, including the business, community services, churches, food and diversity of people.


AAQGO: Trail Blazers - Marion ColemanTrail Blazers – Marion Coleman

37.5 x 52 Inches
This quilt was inspired by the Oakland Black Association parade that is held every October in West Oakland.



AAQGO: West Oakland Blues and Jazz - Norma MasonWest Oakland Blues and Jazz – Norma Mason

35 x 36 Inches
This quilt celebrates the blues and jazz tradition in West Oakland.  The music brought back the sounds, tastes and smells of “back home” in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.



Exhibit Opening


Exhibit Closing


To learn more about the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland, please click HERE.