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Woodland Cultural Centre is excited to welcome “Quilt of Belonging” to our community. An Opening Reception and Artist Talk will be held on February 29th, 2020 at 2PM with Esther Bryan presenting an intimate Artist Talk and guided tour. The “Quilt of Belonging” exhibition will be open for public display from February 29, 2020, to May 9, 2020. A companion book to the Quilt is available at the Woodland Cultural Centre.

Quilt of Belonging was begun in the fall of 1998 by artist, pianist, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother, and volunteer Esther Bryan. Born in Dijon, France, she married Gary Bryan in 1971 and raised two daughters and a son and is currently a proud grandparent. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University (Montreal) and has been working as both artist and pianist for the past 40 years. She has been awarded many honours including the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal in 2016 recognizing her work for the Quilt of Belonging project.
In 1995 she went on a life changing journey to Slovakia with her parents to find the family and home her father had left behind 43 years earlier. The dream of making this artwork was born as she recognized that everyone has a story to tell, each culture has a unique beauty and that the experiences and values of our past inform who we are today. In this textile mosaic, each person can experience a sense of belonging and find a place in the overall design – there is “A Place for All”. Together they record human history in textile, illustrating the beauty, complexity and sheer size of the human story.
Quilt of Belonging is a richly hued portrait of the human family. It is a 120 ft long collaborative textile art project. The 263 blocks portray the rich cultural legacies of every nation of the world. The Quilt represents all First Peoples living in Canada, First Nations, Inuit and Métis; from Abenaki to Yellowknives Dene First Nation including community members of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.
• Lorna Thomas-Hill, Wolf Clan, Cayuga First Nation, and her son Samuel Thomas
• Barbara Little Bear, Mohawk
• Towanna Miller, Seneca, Kahnawake Reserve in Quebec
• Marilyn Cornelius, Oneida, with the help of her two nieces
• The Six Nations Women’s Singing Society, Onondaga
• Julia Stiles Vernon, Tuscarora
“It embraces the same philosophies that we have as Mohawk people that there is inclusiveness. What better way to symbolize the fact that we are all here together in one place? There’s an old Mohawk philosophy of “One Bowl and One Spoon” and it fits into what the Quilt symbolizes. The fact that everyone is here together and connected. A quilt is about connected patterns and squares to bring unity.” – Russell Round point, Akwesasne Mohawk Territory
This monumental artwork is Canada’s most comprehensive textile art project. It is the work of volunteers from Victoria to Newfoundland to the Arctic Circle. From across Canada, participants were invited to contribute their talents and ideas, reflected through the prism of their cultural backgrounds. Over 3 million visitors have seen the Quilt and the artwork is also used in a variety of projects and education programs creating an impact nationally and around the world.
Visit: www.quiltofbelonging.ca
Educational resources are available for teachers and a 48-minute documentary is available through the website.
This exhibition has been made possible in part by Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage.

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