A truly amazing human being, Caroline Love, known to many as C'Love, died last week. She was found by her health care worker, having passed away in her sleep. C'Love had been quite ill for many years, suffering from diabetes, from heart failure and from kidney failure. She was on dialysis for over four years, and this year suffered her second heart
C'Love was African American and part Cherokee. If there was a PowWow within two hundred miles of her, she would attend it. She received her Masters in Fine Arts from the Visual Arts Department at UCSD. For many years she served as Chair of the Women's Caucus on the Arts in the San Diego region. She had studied with Faith Ringgold and continued that
tradition of narrative quilts which has so distinguised the work of Ringgold.
C'Love's work always addressed social justice issues: she made a large quilt on the occasion of the Rodney King beating and one on the violence against women in Bosnia. She made several on health issues. She presented a book project at the College Art Association about the difficulties of being a single mother.
When she died she was working on a series of large quilt tapestries on women in jazz, inspired by a visit to the Schomberg Collection in New York and by a recent publication by Angela Davis, which looks at the lyrics of blues as a literary form. She chose five women blues singers and stitched their images and stories on fabric. This last work was perhaps the strongest she ever made: bold defiant brown faces, surrounded by hand written lyrics and music. C'Love worked on these quilts from her hospital bed, from her rehab center and from her seat on one of the many health transport vehicles which she rode back and forth to hospital and doctor's office as she suffered the many health set-backs that filled her final years.
C'Love was extraordinarily generous: always bringing food and presents to friends and colleagues, remembering birthdays when no one else did. She had a tenacious memory and would ask you about problems and situations from your last meeting with her that you would have to struggle to recall yourself.
She loved to tell jokes and would remember in minute detail all the nuances of the particular joke. It was always
fun to share a joke with C'Love, as it gave you the chance to hear her warm and raucous laughter.
C'Love was a good artist: she had a rare clarity of vision and determination. Her work did not fester nor fade, but each year kept getting stronger and more visionary, despite her desperate health situation.
Behind her talent however was her unique spirit: she glowed with a warmth and an optimism that was truly spiritual. It is this spirit that we will remember: all of us who came in contact with her: the bus drivers, the nurses, the doctors, the Taco Shop clerk, the colleagues, the students. This woman was a testimony to the power of humanity to transcend suffering and despair. The deep faith which sustained this
spirit was centered in ART.
For C'Love life WAS art.
There will be a service for her at the Women's Center on the UCSD campus from 2 until 5 on July 22.