Monumental Cloth

Photo: Carlos Avendaño

In the spring of 1865, a seemingly unremarkable dishcloth played a crucial role in ending the Civil War as the South's flag of surrender at Appomattox. In Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know, textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark debuts six new works across two floors at The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Focusing specifically on this Confederate Flag of Truce, the exhibition explores the legacy of symbols and challenges the power of propaganda, erasures, and omissions.

Photo: Carlos Avendaño

By making the Truce Flag – a cloth that brokered peace and represented the promise of reconciliation – into a monumental alternative to the infamous Confederate Battle Flag and its pervasive divisiveness, Clark instigates a role reversal and aims to correct a historical imbalance. The Fabric Workshop and Museum is housed in a former flag factory, a particularly fitting place to ask questions about the symbolic power cloth can hold in the consciousness of our nation. Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know is a timely catalyst for dialogue about the scars of the Confederacy and America's ability to acknowledge and reckon with racial injustice.

The exhibition is the culmination of Sonya Clark's two-year residency with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, as well as a homecoming of sorts. The artist began her career as an Apprentice at FWM in 1993. Since that time, Clark has received numerous awards, including the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Educator Award (2018) and the Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2016).

Until 4 August 2019. The Fabric Workshop and Museum | 1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 USA

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