08/01/2013 10:38 am ET

Sanford Biggers on the ImageBlog

Quilt #19 (Rockstar), 2013, Repurposed quilt, fabric treated acrylic, spray paint and silkscreen, 191 x 192 cm, Photo by Alessandro Zambianchi, Courtesy the artist and Massimo De Carlo Milano/London.

The artist paints and sews decorative motifs and complex systems of strongly symbolic images on civil war-era and pre-1900 quilts. The quilts are believed to be tools of communication used by the escaped American slaves in the 19th Century to communicate with one another on their journey to freedom on the Underground Railroad. They hung at "stations," outside houses and on the façades of churches in the Deep South.

Recently on view at Sugar, Pork, Bourbon, Massimo De Carlo, Milan, Italy, April 5-May 18, 2013