DETAIL OF: Voyage #1, 12×48 inches, fabric and printed images on fabric. The Oya Series. Original Art by Esther Iverem

Legacy Quilts and Art was founded by Esther Iverem in 2010 for her fiber and multi-media works, which have been featured in four solo shows, several group shows and acquired for personal collections. Iverem is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, producer and curator. Her work, be it visual art, digital, audio or written word, is about social justice and human existence—its history, current state and possible futures. It is also about the environment, including its mysteries extending into the universe. In her recent projects, she interrogates physical and economic violence against people and this planet.

Her mother, the late Margaret Eleanor Curry of Philadelphia, taught her to sew when she was a child and it is this legacy that Iverem honors with the name of her business. As an adult, the process of creating quilts, collages and figures with fabric and mixed media, immerses Iverem in a world of color, pattern and texture. Some of her earliest works of visual art she created as an undergraduate in college, (before turning her attention to writing), included photography and combining fabric with mixed media.

She is drawn to the common fabrics of her generation, including denim jeans, khaki and camouflage. These everyday fabrics are juxtaposed with fine silk or metallic finishes, as well as rough textures such as pockets, waistbands and exposed seams. Many of her quilts also include excerpts from her poetry books and computer printed images that add to the narrative of history and passage. Her recent works are inspired by two Yoruba spirits, Oya, who governs wind, tempests, vengeance and communications with the ancestors, and Olokun, who governs the deepest part of the seas and so also governs the souls of Africans thrown into the ocean during the Atlantic Slave Trade. She has created a series of contemporary Yoruba figures, Olokun of the Galaxy, which carry images of African Americans killed by state violence and  who proclaim that “Water is Life.” She has also created a book, “Olokun of the Galaxy” to accompany the figures to tell a story of Olokun going from Earth’s oceans to oceans throughout the Galaxy.