Forced to Flee debuts at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts

Margaret L. Abramshe – Roadmap

SAQA Global Exhibition “Forced to Flee” will premiere on May 25th at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida (USA). This powerful exhibition will be on view there until August 24, 2019.

Throughout history people have been forced to flee from their homes for their own safety and survival due to war, oppression, natural disasters, and atrocious human rights violations. The refugee crisis has imposed severe impacts on the social, economic, and political structures of host countries, especially poor and developing countries.

This exhibition was juried by Dr. Susan Beryl Marks, whose doctoral thesis explored Art and Design History by examining contemporary quiltmaking practice. This included a comparative study of historical developments in quiltmaking in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dr. Marks said, “I was moved to tears by many of the sorrowful stories in these powerful depictions. These works are accessible even if they can make uncomfortable viewing. Audiences will surely come away with images etched into their memories, and with more awareness of the tragic plight of large sections of humanity.”

Gabriele DiTota – Will be the Next Day Better

In her Juror’s Essay Dr. Marks wrote, “Art quilts have long challenged the notion that quilting is a comfortable art form, and SAQA artists have not shied away from tackling difficult issues from around the world. Interpretation of the theme was varied, ranging from the horrors inflicted on the Jews during the twentieth century and the current dreadful human conflict experienced in many countries such as Syria, to environmental issues brought about through global warming. The common link is the sense of anger at the injustices served on those who have been displaced. The artists have expressed these feelings using gestural mark making and stitching to create haunting faces, ghostly figures, chaotic backgrounds, and stark surroundings.”


The opening of “Forced to Flee” on May 25th will include a gallery tour with Dr. Susan Marks at 1:30 PM. This will be followed by an outdoor reception and showcase of handmade works for purchase. All proceeds at the showcase support the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Art’s mission and the care of its global textile collection.

Read more about “Forced to Flee” and see more images of the artwork on the SAQA website, our exhibition catalog, or in the most recent issue of Art Quilt Quarterly!

Selected Artists

Claire Passmore- The Lucky Ones?

Margaret L. Abramshe – Roadmap
Geneviève Attinger – Missing Migrants
Charlotte Bird – Goodbye My Village
Melani Brewer – Nevermore
Pamela S. Burns – Scorched Earth
Betty Busby – Mourning Doves
Harriet Cherry Cheney – Pogrom
Anne Daughtry – Aleppo
Jennifer Day – Tengo Hambre – I am Hungry
Gabriele DiTota – Will be the Next Day Better
Eileen E. Donovan – Hope for Tomorrow
Catherine A. Drummond – Displaced
Jim Hay – REFUGE or REFUSE: Offer Sanctuary or Discard as Trash
Sandra E. Lauterbach – From Generation to Generation
Eunhee Lee – They are Also Us
Uta Lenk – Everyone Has the Right
Kathleen Loomis – Tired and Poor
Elizabeth Michellod-Dutheil – Diaspora
Cathy Miranker – Liberty Deconstructed/ Reconstructed
Marie Mitchell – Walking the Refugee Road: Forced to Flee
Hildegard Mueller – Stumbling blocks
Mary Palmer – Prayer
Claire Passmore – The Lucky Ones?
Maya Schonenberger – Armenian Diaspora
Christine Seager – Chana’s Quilt
Sara Sharp – Fleeing From Drought
Paula J. Swett – No Fixed Address
Karin Tauber – Life Jacket Graveyard of Lesvos
Jo Thomas – Child Behind Barbed Wire
Christine Vinh – Forty Years After the Zero Years
Carol J. Vinick – Amnesty
Diane E. Wespiser – Wanted – A Home
Sabi Westoby – Page 27 – Exodus 1
Grace H. Wever – Firestorm
Isabelle Wiessler – Mare Dolorosso
Diane M. Wright – Emu Camps


SAQA Global Exhibitions
If your venue is interested in booking this exhibition or other SAQA Global exhibitions, please contact William Reker at or visit our Global Exhibitions page.

SAQA will have a total of fifteen exhibitions traveling the world in 2019, including a record-breaking debut of six new exhibitions (four of them in museums). Museum openings include “Season After Season” at the Texas Quilt Museum, “Forced to Flee” at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, “3D Expression” at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, and “Connecting our Natural Worlds” at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

MEDIA INFO: For more details and hi-resolution images about this exhibition, please contact us at

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