Quilting project heals trauma and tells stories

Thursday, January 7, 2016

At 7:00 PM on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement is hosting a reception to launch an exhibit, As the Women Sew: Community Quilts of Mamupján, Colombia.   

Women quiltingFor the Colombian coastal community of Mampuján, displaced from their land by a paramilitary group in 2000, quilting has become a way of recovering their past in order to weave a better future. First started as a trauma healing project, it quickly grew to encompass the entire community as women gathered together to talk about the pain they had suffered during their displacement.

The women of Mampuján decided to sew the history of their Afro-Colombian community, from life in Africa, to slavery, to agriculture, to displacement and recovery, in a series of tapestries.

For Juana Alicia Ruiz, the project leader, this decision and subsequent learning about their history, was transformational:  “We learned that violence is cyclical. We, in the present, were not the only ones that had been victims. Rather, our ancestors had arrived in Colombia as victims of this violence, and their own displacement from Africa. So we started to tell all of this story, because by telling it, we could work to stop the cycle of violence.”

Moving from individual healing to collective recovery and advocating for their rights have become important steps for Mampuján in changing cycles of violence and creating a better future for their community. In November of 2015, the women of Mampuján won the Colombian National Peace Prize in recognition of their effort.

This exhibit displays four of the many impactful quilts created by this group, and was made possible by the collaboration of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Colombia and Fundación Puntos de Encuentro. It also includes ten photographs by MCC worker Anna Vogt that document what life now looks like for those who once lived in Old Mamupján.

The January 12 exhibit reception will take place in the Grebel Gallery, located in the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement on the fourth floor of Conrad Grebel University College. An array of Colombian fare will be served amidst the artwork, and special guests from MCC will share firsthand accounts of the quilting project and its subsequent impact.

The MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement is committed to being a place to craft, record, map, and perform the stories of peacemaking. It is a place to give voice to others. The Grebel Gallery is a welcoming display and exhibit space for visual art and media, for receptions, small workshops and small coffee house/concerts.

Monday to Thursday 8:30 am - 10:00 pm
Friday 8:30 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
UNTIL  APRIL 23, 2016

Free admission

Join us for an exhibit reception on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 7:00 PM in the Grebel Gallery.

Michelle Jackett
Coordinator, MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road,  Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6
michelle.jackett@uwaterloo.ca | 519-885-0220 x24221


download the exhibit poster