Quilts may seem like an old-school concept, a craft with grandmotherly associations, but they're actually an incredible way to showcase powerful concepts and ideas -- even in the modern era.
Biscayne National Park is currently showing 26 art quilts, all created by Floridians, all dedicated to highlighting the ways pollution and climate change are royally screwing our nation's 401 national parks.
Needless to say, the human-caused phenomena isn't exactly improving conditions in these spectacular settings.
The quilts were created by members of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), a 3,000-member national organization dedicated to promoting art quilts.
These specific kinds of quilts focus not only on stitching and piecing, but also layering, "thread-painting" and graphic design. The pieces are often three-dimensional -- definitely not what you'd usually expect from a quilt. From melting glaciers to bleached corals, the imagery is striking.
The topic is a monumentally important one, particularly given Miami's worrisome underwater future and the fact that Biscayne National Park is the largest marine park in the National Park System.
"Climate change is not something far off and remote, affecting only polar bears and people who live along the beach," explained Gary Bremen, a Park Ranger at Biscayne National Park. "The impacts of climate change are very broad: corals bleach to white as water temperatures increase, flowers bloom at the wrong time, perhaps when their pollinators are not around; birds migrate without their food sources along the route being ready...the list goes on and on."
"When these things impact national parks, the places that are set aside as the very best a nation offers, climate change becomes real for people. This exhibition facilitates that connection."
The exhibition, "Piecing Together a Changing Planet," will be on display locally until February 27. Then it will travel to nine other National Parks and National Park partner venues as part of the celebration of the National Park Service's 2016 Centennial.
You can read each artist's take on climate change and their contribution to the quilt in this PDF, and you can check out the exhibit at Biscayne National Park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery, 9700 SW 328 St., Homestead, from 9 to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free.
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