Southern Focus

Snapshot of a Southern Trailblazer

North Carolina artist Maya Freelon one of dozens of women featured in G&G’s new book

Photograph by Chris Charles
From Southern Women, by the editors of Garden & Gun

Fierce, funny, formidable. For centuries, women have formed the backbone of the South, yet for too long their stories have been overlooked, underestimated, or diminished to a moonlight-and-magnolias myth. No more—Garden & Gun’s latest book, Southern Women (Harper Wave), features more than a hundred groundbreaking voices and tributes from across the region, from Oscar winners such as Texas native Sissy Spacek, whose accent Hollywood once treated as a barrier, to visionary artists such as Durham, North Carolina’s Maya Freelon, photographed here on a farm in Hillsborough.

Jacqueline Stofsick

In the book, Freelon says she stands on the shoulders of her ancestors, and calls her sprawling tissue-paper artworks—which have appeared in exhibitions and installations in such museums as the Smithsonian—a testament to their sacrifices. Edited by one of the magazine’s deputy editors Amanda Heckert and enriched by arresting images overseen by photography and visuals director Maggie Brett Kennedy, Southern Women heralds the diverse cast of women who compose today’s South.