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Faith Ringgold painting to be moved from Rikers to Brooklyn Museum

'From the Women's House' highlights importance of women

December 30, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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An iconic mural by celebrated artist Faith Ringgold, “For the Women’s House,” is expected to be moved out of the Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC) on Rikers Island, a building for female inmates, to the Brooklyn Museum, subject to review by the NYC Public Design Commission.

“The history of New York City’s success is very much about how women contributed in every aspect of the city’s development. But too many of those stories remain untold, particularly for women of color whose achievements were literally erased from history books,” said former First Lady Chirlane McCray, who helped arrange the move. 

The mural was dedicated to the women at the Correctional Institution for Women on Rikers Island in January 1972. When men began to be housed at the facility in 1988, the painting was whitewashed before it was saved by an officer. The piece was then restored and relocated to the new women’s facility, the RMSC or “Rosie’s,” where it remains on display.

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Artist Faith Ringgold poses for a portrait in front of a painted self-portrait during a press preview at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington in 2013. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

 “While we rightly move off Rikers, there is much history to remember and reflect upon,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi. “Bringing this piece into public view is an important part of learning and growing from this history. We thank Faith Ringgold who dedicated her talents to offer a bit of beauty in an otherwise difficult place.”

Incorporating suggestions given to Ringgold by incarcerated women, “For the Women’s House” depicts the first female president, professional women basketball players and other positive female role models.  The piece is expected to be added to the Ringgold collection at the Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum to ensure it is accessible to the public.

In order to replace the artwork, and to promote beauty and healing within the jails, the Art for Justice Fund has offered to fund the creation of a new community mural in RMSC in the space vacated by Ms. Ringgold’s work.

“I’m looking forward to the people finally getting a chance to see my painting, `For the Women’s House,’ at the Brooklyn Museum,” said Faith Ringgold.

 “The Brooklyn Museum is thrilled to have one of Faith Ringgold’s most iconic paintings return to our care,” said Anne Pasternak, director of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. “We are excited to share it with millions of people locally and around the globe and engage them in dialogues about this groundbreaking artist’s work and themes of mass incarceration, women’s equality, the artistic movements of the 1970s and more.”

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