Bringing Bisa Butler's dynamic portraits to life in Chicago

American fiber artist Bisa Butler’s solo exhibition “Portraits” at the Art Institute of Chicago was a smash hit- and we helped art-lovers enjoy her work in a whole new light with a pattern-heavy and exciting exploration of her quilted artwork "Southside Sunday Morning."

 

In all her work, Butler creates arresting portraits—composed entirely of vibrantly colored and patterned fabrics—that reimagine and celebrate narratives of Black life. The inspiration for Southside Sunday Morning was a photo taken by Russell Lee for the Farm Securities Administration on Easter morning in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago in 1941.

Our moving portrait of her work, displayed at a grand scale exclusively at 150 Media Stream in conjunction with her show, played with the repeating patterns of not only her work's textural details but also the design of the 89 LED blades it was displayed on, stretching 150 feet long and rising 22 feet high as it ignited into light, color, and movement.

The colossal size of the display also brought out details that her art in real life never could- from minute fabric textures to individual stitches in vibrant color and movement.