twenty-seven years ago, in 1991, my mother was infuriated by the clarence thomas/anita hill sexual harassment hearings. she kept the TV on as she worked in her studio and was struck by how a panel of old, white, male senators aggressively and ruthlessly interrogated the poised, young attorney, anita hill, questioning both her integrity and character.
“the oldest men’s club at work” is a fabric reaction to those brutal hearings. utilizing the traditional “courthouse steps” block, the quilt is constructed of men’s ties and shirting fabrics.
the fabric squares in the center of the blocks show the double faces of the senators “talking out of both sides” as they interviewed ms. hill.
the inner blocks framing the courthouse, closer to the center of power, represent black suits and red power ties.
the middle panel depicts the supreme court with the verbiage and headlines surrounding the hearings.
the women represented in gray at the top of the power structure are only as visible and recognized as the men at the bottom…despite the fact that the population of the united states is nearly equally divided between women and men.
almost three decades later, we are once again mesmerized by the hearings for the nomination of a supreme court justice. like clarence thomas, brett kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault (a step further than sexual harassment!) by professor christine blasey ford and now, deborah ramirez. THREE of the same old, white men are STILL on the senate judiciary committee and their thinking seems to have degenerated, rather than progressed. at least the white house of george h. w. bush in 1991 ordered an FBI investigation, something these aged senators are discouraging on kavanaugh’s behalf. it’s unbelievably disheartening that the judiciary committee seems to care so much more about advancing polarizing partisan politics than exposing truth and making an informed decision. let’s hope that integrity and grace win out in the coming days as the kavanaugh hearings proceed. sending strength and power to ms. ford and ms. ramirez.
quilt, “the oldest men’s club at work” by ann rhode 1991