Elyse Pignolet on Faith Ringgold

“...say who you are -- write it, paint it, do it!”

The astonishing FAITH RINGGOLD learned to sew and quilt as a girl during the Harlem Renaissance and went on to become a ground-breaking artist, activist and storyteller in cloth and paint, She employed an army of women, including her mother, to help her finish her amazing painted quilts. Still at work as a painter and artist Faith's vivid journey comes alive, told by painter/ceramicist Elyse Pignolet.

Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.


Elyse Pignolet

Born in Oakland, CA, Elyse Pignolet is an American with Filipino heritage, living and working in Los Angeles. Pignolet works primarily in ceramics and her work has been inspired by and dealt with various themes including political and social issues, the dialectic between feminism and misogyny, inequality, and cultural stereotypes. Exploring the boundaries between ceramics, painting and sculpture, Pignolet attempts to place the permanence and traditions of ceramics with the fleeting and transitory nature of the contemporary world.

Featured Woman

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold grew up during the Harlem Renaissance. Her mother taught her to sew. Her childhood came out in her art, her quilts, paintings and drive. In 1968, she protested the Whitney and its all-male exhibit. Faith insisted that half those artists should be women! She was commissioned by the Creative Artists Public Service Program, and hung her “For the Womens House,” in the Womens facility on Rikers Island. Her children’s book, “Tar Baby,” captured her childhood in Harlem—hot summer nights, on the rooftop, sleeping under the stars, flying into those stars. Faith said, “You can’t sit around and wait for someone to say who you are, you need to write it and paint it and do it!” She is the embodiment of that belief. Her name says it all, Faith.