The Centre for All Canadians
Myla Dorrington, A Visit from Mamay, 2012, pieced, appliquéd and hand stitched, 239 x 216 cm. Photo: Courtesy of the Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia

The Secret Codes: Quilts from and inspired by Nova Scotia’s Black communities

Myla Dorrington, A Visit from Mamay, 2012, pieced, appliquéd and hand stitched, 239 x 216 cm. Photo: Courtesy of the Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia
The Secret Codes presents the quiltmaking traditions of Nova Scotia’s 40 Black communities from the past century. In this expanded version of the original 2012 exhibition, works by 24 living and deceased, mostly Black quiltmakers, show the ways that quilts have functioned: as decorated blankets, as secret codes to escape slavery, as documentary records of community and family history, as a celebration of Black women and Black culture, and increasingly as tableaus of vivid artmaking.

Described by Karen Henry of the Quilt Canada National Committee as “some of the most beautiful quilts I have seen in all of Canada,” The Secret Codes quilts add a vibrant and compelling new chapter to the contemporary art scene in Canada.
Curated by David Woods
Organized by The Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia (BANNS) and The Vale Quilters of New Glasgow

Quiltmakers: Marilyn Brannan (New Glasgow), Myla Borden (New Glasgow), Edith Colley (East Preston), Honey Cain (North Preston), Anja Clyke (Dartmouth), Heather Cromwell (New Glasgow), Bolivia Czernon (North Preston), Sara Lea Donovan (Ottawa), Frances Dorrington (New Glasgow), Marlene Dorrington (New Glasgow), Rosella Fraser (North Preston), Laurel Francis (Pincher Creek, Alberta), Cass Gero (Monastery), Pearl Glasgow (East Preston), Andrea Tsang Jackson (Halifax), Debra Jordan (New Glasgow), Susan Lawrence (Upper Big Tracadie, Antigonish), Helen Morrison (Weymouth), Shirley MacKenzie (Pictou), Melinda Patterson (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Sharon Robart-Johnson (Greenville, Yarmouth), Alfreda Smith (North Preston), Annie Whalen (New Glasgow),Vale Quilters (New Glasgow)

Justin Augustine (Halifax), Letitia Fraser (Halifax), Shawn Skeir (Toronto, formerly Halifax)

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