Amish Country (the making of a quilt) and Pennsylvania Dutch quilt
Coming from a new world culture, history as a concept has always interested me– who writes it and who tells it. Using artistic means: in-situ, site-specific, materials, symbolic reference, new media, videos etc., I create installations that re-examine the construction of one or more identities in relation to specific spaces and places, re-examining the influence and manufacture of a historicizing simulation of past events through archives, oral testimonies and visual materials.
Amish Country (the making of a quilt) (5:40) is a single channel video installation that contextualizes the collaboration process of the past years with Jacob and Anne Esh, an Amish family (Pennsylvania Dutch). The Pennsylvania Dutch living in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. are not Dutch but immigrants from Germany and Switzerland and many people visit them to admire their tradition of handmade quilts. In order to afford the rising cost of real estate, the Esh family supplements their income from the farm with a quilting business. Together they were contracted to design and construct a quilt that combines the exact size and elements from both the Dutch and American flags, representing the two countries of citizenship of the artist.
Renée Ridgway is an artist, free-lance curator, writer and educator based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Since completing her studies in fine art at the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA) and Piet Zwart Institute (MA), she has exhibited widely in the Netherlands and internationally (Manifesta8, P.S.1 MoMA Hotel New York, Centraal Museum Utrecht, Museum De Lakenhal, Conflux Festival), made numerous public presentations at various conferences and forums, and taught at several universities in the Netherlands and abroad. Ridgway’s work comprises a range of media in her video installations: audio, texts, textile, drawings along with contributions and feedback from many of her collaborators.