20 years later, Quilt con­tin­ues to in­spire

The Glengarry News - - Garrynews -

A vi­brant and metic­u­lous un­der­tak­ing that be­gin in Wil­liamstown two decades ago is still hav­ing an ef­fect on peo­ple around the world.

The Quilt Of Be­long­ing-Fi­bres du monde, stitched to­gether with 11 kilo­me­tres of thread, was ini­ti­ated in 1998 by artist Es­ther Bryan, who would re­ceive the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal in 2015.

“Twenty years ago we be­gan to make the Quilt, lit­tle know­ing what lay ahead. But now, as we re­flect back on these years, we are in awe at the amaz­ing suc­cess and con­tin­u­ing im­pact of the Quilt,” she writes in a news­let­ter.

The 120-foot long col­lab­o­ra­tive tex­tile art project is com­prised of 263 blocks por­tray­ing the rich cul­tural lega­cies of all the First Peo­ples in Canada and ev­ery na­tion of the world.

“At the Par­lia­ment of World Re­li­gions’ in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence in Toronto this Novem­ber, not only was the Quilt mir­rored in the wall fac­ing the dis­play, but it per­fectly re­flected the theme of the event, The Prom­ise of In­clu­sion, the Power of Love,” Ms. Bryan re­lates. “We saw afresh the amaz­ing im­pact of the Quilt, with its vi­son of “A Place for All.” We are filled with joy, won­der and thank­ful­ness for the bless­ings the Quilt has ex­pe­ri­enced -- en­cour­aged to con­tinue our pur­suit for peace, hope and love in the world. Thank you to all!”

Over 3 mil­lion vis­i­tors have seen the Quilt while the Quilt of Be­long­ing com­pan­ion book is in its fifth print­ing and the 48-minute doc­u­men­tary is re­ceiv­ing rave re­views.

The art­work is also used in a va­ri­ety of pro­jects and ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams, cre­at­ing an im­pact na­tion­ally and around the world. The news­let­ter in­cludes com­ments from vis­i­tors. “Breath-tak­ing! My heart is over­flow­ing for hu­man­ity at such a gor­geous and mov­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our in­ter­wo­ven threads and sym­bols,” says one per­son. An­other en­thuses: “Gave me God bumps -- this is bril­liant. This con­nects the whole Earth with beauty and peace.”

New tex­book

The Mo­hawk block from the quilt is in­cluded in a new Grade 4 text­book, ti­tled Take Ac­tion for Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion: We are the Land. This will be the sev­enth school text to fea­ture the quilt. Across Canada, schools are us­ing units of study based on the quilt. As a re­sult of highly suc­cess­ful ex­hi­bi­tions dur­ing Canada’s 150th birth­day last year, the fifth print­ing of the ex­hi­bi­tion cat­a­logue, Quilt of Be­long­ing: The In­vi­ta­tion Project, nearly sold out. A sixth edi­tion of the pop­u­lar book has been pro­duced. “The con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of Quilt of Be­long­ing is a trib­ute to the many who give of their time, tal­ents and re­sources. Some have helped since the Quilt be­gan -- the en­tire 20 years. Oth­ers are just new to the project. All are needed! Whether trav­el­ling to help at ex­hi­bi­tions, as­sist­ing in the of­fice, serv­ing on the board, cu­rat­ing the Quilt be­tween shows, or giv­ing funds, our sup­port­ers make it all pos­si­ble,” the news­let­ter reads.

The num­bers

3 mil­lion peo­ple have seen the quilt in per­son. Mak­ing the quilt took six and one half years, from Novem­ber 1, 1998 to April 1, 2006. Vol­un­teers do­nated 46,000 hours to make the quilt. The quilt has trav­elled 89,413 kilo­me­tres. 192 coun­tries are rep­re­sented. 14,800 hours vol­un­teer hours were de­voted to research. Length of thread: 4.2 kilo­me­tres sewn by ma­chine 6.9 kilo­me­tres were sewn by hand. On tour, the work has been seen at 40 ex­hi­bi­tions, 37 in Canada, two in the United States and one in Malaysia.

The web­site has re­ceived over 1 mil­lion vis­its from 168 coun­tires.

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