American quilters (Bobbi Fitzsimmons and Connie Moser completed the first of three Nepal Tiger Quilts at home in North Carolina (April 2017). The quilt squares were made by women in Nepal and sent to the U.S. to be assembled into quilts.
I have only just become aware of The Advocacy Project. Their work is described on their website at http://www.advocacynet.org :
Quilts can tell a powerful story. One of the ways The Advocacy Project supports community-based campaigns in other countries is to help them produce and use quilts in their advocacy. This was inspired by Bosnian weavers from BOSFAM, who lost relatives in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. In 2006, with help from The Advocacy Project, the weavers produced woven squares that carried the names of their murdered family members. This became the first of 15 Srebrenica Memorial Quilts.
Three years later, in 2009, women from the Guatemalan community of Rio Negro followed the example of the BOSFAM weavers and produced a rich quilt which carried the names of family members who had died in the Rio Negro massacres in 1982. They were helped by Peace Fellow Heidi McKinnon, an accomplished art museum curator.
Both groups of women, in Bosnia and Guatemala, had been deeply wounded by war, and both found quilting to be deeply therapeutic. Quilting also allowed them to speak out, develop skills, and produce works of art that keep their culture alive.
This formula has proved enormously appealing for women who have faced discrimination and most of the communities that have partnered with the Advocacy Project have produced at least one advocacy quilt. Women from Uganda even made a quilt from recycled straws to publicize the threat to their environment.
Because their aim was to be heard, every artist who has contributed a quilt square is profiled on the Advocacy Project website. They number almost five hundred and each has a story to tell. Some – as in Mali, where rape is a cause of great stigma – have asked that their true identify be withheld. But the majority has insisted that they be identified. This is their way of denouncing the crime that was committed against them.
In the process of assembling the quilts, many of our American quilters have come to understand the violence suffered by the artists and been shocked by what they have learned. After working on the Ahadi quilts from the Congo Beth Bohac, from the Faithful Circle Quilters of Columbia, MD, observed: “There are women in this world who suffer so much that we cannot even imagine.”
Between 2010 and 2016 our main goal was to tell a story and if these quilts speak, people have certainly listened. Over 80,000 people visited an exhibition of our quilts at the United Nations in New York in 2012, including the current Foreign Minister of Sweden. Thousands more were able to catch our exhibition of 24 quilts at Kean University in 2013. In November 2013 the renowned Textile Museum in Washington put on a splendid display of eight quilts – the last exhibit at its location.
Here is a picture of the Ahadi (Promise) Quilt being assembled in the U.S.
There is much to see on this site. If you wish to read about the individual projects, click on the link at the bottom of the page that says QUILTS. The page that comes up has the title ADVOCACY QUILTS and below that, WOMEN. There you can click on each project to read the profile of each woman who contributed to these quilts.