Arts & Culture Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange Towns

Gallery Exhibit Features Work of CHS Grad Bisa Butler


Bisa Butler

The current exhibit at the Domareki Gallery at Columbia High School features the work of graduate Bisa Butler (Class of ’91), who has returned to her alma mater as an instructor.

Butler explains the exhibit as follows:

I come from a background of talented expert seamstresses. My mother and grandmother both sewed clothing and household items all the time. They were perfectionists with their sewing and my grandmother once unstitched a dress I made, and remade it the correct way. Because of them I use all sorts of fine untraditional fabrics in my quilts. I use the dressmaking materials that I grew up watching my mother use, such as silk, chiffon, netting, lace and leather.

 I was taught how to sew, but I made my own technique to sew quilts. I use my foundation as a trained artist to sketch and combine colors. Many of my quilts resemble paintings more than they do quilts.

FullSizeRender (6) Bisa Butler

When people see my work I want them to be able to imagine the life that my subjects had. I want people to be able to relate to the emotion in each piece and come away with an understanding. It is said that when you can understand and empathize with another person you have a rapport. I want people who view my work to be able to establish a rapport with the essence of the quilted person portrayed. I want the viewer to be able to infer what era the person was from, what type of life they lead, and what emotions they are expressing.

Said Mara Rubin, Supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts: “We are thrilled to be showcasing the work of Bisa Butler, a Columbia High School graduate whose dream has been to come back to CHS and teach art at the high school. She hopes to help her students be inspired by art just like her art teachers did when she attended CHS.”

The Domareki Gallery is open from 7:30 am- 6:00 p.m. daily.

The exhibit runs through the month of September with a closing reception on Friday, September 25 from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Read more about Butler’s work on

Other Stories