"I've been sewing since I was a child," said Leacraft. "My maternal grandmother put the first needle and thread in my hand."
Later this month, Leacraft will visit
Artists invited to display quilts were asked to submit works honoring Mandela, the freedom fighter who became the country's first black president. He died last year at age 95.
The exhibit, titled Conscience of the Human Spirit: The Life of
The exhibition will tour
Leacraft's work is called Amandla!, which in the Xhosa and Zulu languages means "power." The 30-by-30-inch quilt was inspired by the green, black, and gold flag of the
"I'm into cultural symbolism," said Leacraft. "So I decided to focus on the ANC flag because it was a symbol of black South Africans' struggle for liberation during the apartheid era."
"The central focus is four panels, which are miniversions of the ANC flag turned in such a way that all the black bars connect," said Leacraft. "That connection is to represent black South Africans joined in solidarity in the struggle against apartheid."
Leacraft said she held fund-raising events to pay for her trip. She said she plans to take about 200 pairs of socks for children in
Leacraft, who is divorced and in her 60s, said she began sewing her own clothes in middle school. She became focused on African and African American culture in the 1960s, while she attended
Leacraft makes bright quilts that incorporate family photos, beads, and cowrie shells. She also makes wall hangings, scarves, and other items, including hand-dyed shoelaces for sneakers. Her work has been displayed nationally and internationally at museums and galleries.
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