Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Legacy Series V: Strange Fruit
  • Sonié Joi Ruffin
    born 1951
    born: Joplin, Missouri, United States ; active: United States
  • Legacy Series V: Strange Fruit, circa 2013
  • Where object was made: United States
  • cotton fabric, batik, with fabric designed by the artist, quilting
  • Object Height/Width: 66 x 45 in
  • On loan by the artist
  • Not on display
  • EL2017.035
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Narratives of the Soul", 08-Jul-2017
This quilt is inspired by the poem “Strange Fruit,” written in 1937
by Abel Meeropol and popularized by African American singer Billie Holiday.
“Strange Fruit”
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.