In the next couple of weeks I'll be posting about early African-American artists, beginning with Harriet Powers. Harriet Powers was born in Georgia into slavery in 1839. Harriet Powers' work reveals the bedrock importance of African pictorial tradition in the development of American folk art. Only two works by HP survive: Bible Quilt, 1886 (Smithsonian), and Pictorial Quilt, 1898 (MFA Boston, pictured). The two applique quilts depict bible stories; they also reflect the transmission of the semi-abstract textile applique art and esthetic of the Fon/Dahomey, the largest ethnic and linguistic group in present-day Benin (known among other things for their women warriors). The second image is a Dahomey applique.