TROUBLE IN THE TROPICS
New York, New York
Commercially printed fabrics plus hand stenciled fabrics printed by hand and with airbrush. Appliquéd and hand quilted.
84 x 84 inches
Katherine Knauer comments: "This is a whimsical piece inspired by the disagreement between General Manual Noriega of Panama and the first President George Bush. Other world events have since overshadowed the Panama episode, but for a brief moment our newspapers were filled with stories of the General wearing red underwear to fend off evil spells and taking refuge in the Papal Nuncio, where American forces followed him blaring rock and roll music at top volume outside his window to drive him out. After his capture, his Panamanian opponents celebrated in the capital city with pineapples skewered on pikes as a jab at his nickname, 'Pineapple Head,' a reference to his acne scars.
"That nickname was the point of departure I used in designing the quilt, for the pineapple is both a traditional quilt pattern and a symbol of hospitality found frequently in early American craft. In this fabric design, pineapples merge with portraits of the general on a gingham-like background. Other translucent paint effects are achieved in the “postcard” monoprints – each one depicting an unfortunate event that might befall a vacationer to the tropics. (N.B. When my husband and I traveled to Rio in 1989 we were strongly cautioned not to leave our tour group due to security concerns.) The third fabric I designed and printed for this quilt is on top – the story of a drug shipment being dropped out of a small airplane to a speedboat below, all being watched by DEA agents hiding in the tropical foliage. This quilt does not refer to a traditional quilt pattern, but was constructed as horizontal 'stories,' sliced, 'bounced,' restitched and bordered. The border fabric is a repeat pattern of American pineapple hand grenades using the stencil I designed for another quilt of mine titled Conventional Forces."
Contact Robert Shaw for more information or to purchase
More quilts by Katherine Knauer
Photos by Gavin Ashworth