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Five African-American quilters create a robust patchwork of faith, community and art

Gee’s Bend (also known as Boykin) is an isolated hamlet encircled by the Alabama River, with a population of roughly 100 people, most of them African American. The tight-knit community has been known for its quilting culture for decades, including its role in the Freedom Quilting Bee – a cooperative based in nearby Rehobeth that was founded in 1966 to give African-American women a means to earn their own income. The initiative later helped to bring wider recognition to the region’s distinctively colourful and eclectic quilting style, including an exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. The short documentary While I Yet Live by the Los Angeles-based director Maris Curran is a rhythmic and gently reverential glimpse into the quilting community of Gee’s Bend today, offering a sojourn with five quilters as they sew, sing and reflect on the ongoing struggle for civil rights and their love of community and craft.

Director: Maris Curran

Producer: Jon Coplon

23 July 2019

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