From Faith Ringgold To Jacob Lawrence, These Jigsaw Puzzles Celebrate The Work Of Renowned Black Artists

From Faith Ringgold To Jacob Lawrence, These Jigsaw Puzzles Celebrate The Work Of Renowned Black Artists

January is National Puzzle Month, and with Black History Month right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to dive into the art of puzzle making while simultaneously learning about the works of various Black artists. Most of these puzzles (ranging from 500 to 1000 pieces) will take considerable time and concentration, but the final result of having a version of Jacob Lawrence’s “The Wedding” or Romare Bearden’s “Up at Minton’s” residing in your home will be well worth the endeavor! Within the collection of puzzles, works of more contemporary artists are also included, such as Jordan Casteel and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Read on to learn more about each puzzle, the artwork associated with it, and how to purchase.

Faith Ringgold, The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles Puzzle

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Purchase through Amazon.

Produced by Gailison and named as part of the Oprah’s Favorite Things list on Amazon last year, this 1,000 piece puzzle is based on Faith Ringgold’s “The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles” painting.  The size is 27 x 20 inches.

The description reads: “The Faith Ringgold The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles 1000 Piece Puzzle from Galison features Ringgold’s colorful painting of eight powerful African American women from the past, including Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and more. Born 1930 in Harlem, New York, Ringgold is a painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist, writer, teacher and lecturer. Through words and text, symbol and metaphor, she acknowledges the contributions of African American women and honors their traditions.”

Romare Bearden, Three Folk Musicians Puzzle

Purchase through VFMA Shop.

This 500 piece puzzle of Romare Bearden’s 1967 “Three Folk Musicians” collage is from the VMFA shop. This particular scene was inspired by what Bearden often witnessed at his grandmother’s boardinghouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He said, “After supper the boarders would sit in front of the house and talk, or play checkers, or plunk out ‘down home music’ on their guitars.” The original collage consists of hand-painted papers and scraps of magazine photographs, all carefully crafted to create this musical setting that honors jazz and blues music. The puzzle is 20 x 20 inches. 

Romare Bearden, Up at Minton’s Puzzle

Purchase through Amazon

Bearden’s most celebrated works are certainly the ones that draw inspiration from jazz and blues, his favorite subject matter, and Up at Minton’s is no exception. The 1980 collage and painting is an ode to Minton’s Playhouse, the Harlem jazz club founded by Henry Minton in 1938.  This 1,000 piece puzzle is from Pomegranate, and it measures 20 x 27 inches. 

“Bearden created a body of work that stands as a diary of evolving blues and jazz during the Harlem Renaissance,” reads the description from Pomegranate. “Up at Minton’s richly evokes a moment when harmony extends beyond the music, filling the soul with peace and delight”.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Nwantinti Puzzle

Purchase through Studio Store

Contemporary artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s 2012 mixed media painting “Nwantinti” (2012) was reproduced into a puzzle as a collaboration between Akunyili Crosby and the Studio Museum in Harlem’s store, where she completed an artist residency. The work’s title is a reference to Nelly Uchendu’s 1976 version of an Igbo folk song about finding true love. 

“Akunyili Crosby employs a photo-transfer technique to incorporate the album’s cover art and other personal and culturally significant images into a collage. The photos blend into the private space of a bedroom, where the artist gazes tenderly at her partner,” writes Studio Museum. The 750 piece puzzle is 25 x 17 inches. 

Jacob Lawrence, The Wedding Puzzle

Purchase through Amazon

Jacob Lawrence’s 1948 painting “The Wedding” was created with egg tempera paint on a hardboard. The description from Pomegranate reads: “In strong, clear colors and pronounced angular lines, Jacob Lawrence painted a wedding scene that reflects both the joy and gravity of the ceremony. Lawrence believed that conveying his emotions about a subject was just as important as portraying its likeness, and The Wedding shows just how the artist used his unique style to highlight both narrative and sentiment. Reflect on momentous celebrations and everyday joys as you put together this 1000-piece puzzle of Lawrence’s vivid painting.” The finished puzzle is 25 x 20 inches. 

Jordan Casteel, Kevin the Kiteman Puzzle

Purchase through Studio Store

Jordan Casteel’s 2016 painting “Kevin the Kiteman” was created during her artist residency at The Studio Museum in Harlem. The puzzle is a collaboration between her and Studio Museum. A few years later, Casteel recalled the man who inspired the painting: “From my perch in the studios, I often spent time looking out at the Adam Clayton Powell courtyard … There was one man who often caught my eye. He would be in the courtyard across the street clearly having the time of his life dancing and flying kites. Our initial introduction was fairly brief. I explained my role as an artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem and the project I was beginning to develop around capturing the community and sharing that with a broader museum audience. He shared his desire to bring the joy of flying kites to families—provide an activity and happiness accessible to everyone.”

The 750 piece puzzle is 19 x 20.5 inches when completed. 

Derrick Adams x DreamYard Double-Sided Puzzle

Purchase through Amazon.

This unique 500 piece puzzle is double-sided! One side features paintings by multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams, and the other side is filled with paintings by DreamYard middle school students in the Bronx who were inspired by Adams. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the DreamYard Scholarship Fund. 

DreamYard’s mission statement is to help young people develop an artistic voice while nurturing their desire to create change and cultivate the skills necessary to reach their goals. “We believe that young people in the Bronx need a continuous set of support to help them towards positive outcomes as they navigate their educational pathway. We have every expectation that through offering sustained and meaningful support, our youth will develop the necessary tools to become creative and engaged citizens, life-long learners and the leaders and innovators of the 21st century,” writes DreamYard. 

The work of Derrick Adams explores Black identity, oftentimes referencing patterns, images, and themes of Black culture in America. 

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Ayanna Winters

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