Invitation: The Quilt of Belonging, Canada’s largest, most comprehensive textile art project, will launch a five year cross-Canada tour with a gala evening, April 1, 2005 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC). The gala, organized in conjunction with CMC and the Canadian Ethno cultural Council, opens Invitations inaugural exhibition, which will be on view to the public from April 2-10.
The Quilt of Belonging is a 120-foot-long tapestry, a national work of art made by cultural groups from across Canada. The project is unique in the extent of its inclusiveness. The rich, cultural legacies portrayed in the 263 blocks include all of Canada’s First Peoples and every nation of the world since all are part of the Canadian mosaic. Whether the cultural group in Canada is a large one such as the Chinese or Italian, or tiny, consisting of only one or two individuals like San Marino, Vanuatu or Kiribati, all are included.
Invitation began as the dream of Williamstown artist Esther Bryan who wanted to symbolically show that there is a place for everyone in the fabric of society. Though culturally diverse, we are linked by a common humanity from which to build our future, said Ms. Bryan. Since 1998 hundreds of people from Victoria to Newfoundland to the Arctic Circle have participated to make the dream a reality.
The Quilt of Belonging tells the story of Canada and its people, from the First Nations through to our newest members of society The Quilt of Belonging has captured the heart and soul of all Canadians and provides future generations with a new story told through the enduring tradition of textiles. wrote George Heller, President and CEO of Hudson’s Bay Company in the forward to the book, Quilt of Belonging: The Invitation Project. This 300-page full-colour companion text has been written following years of extensive research and interviews. Faces from every nation are revealed through personal stories, some shared for the first time. The book, published by Boston Mills Press, distributed by Firefly, will also be launched on April 1st.
Invitation is excited to share the project with others both nationally and abroad in the upcoming tour. In winter 2006, Invitation will be the first ever quilt tour to cross the Arctic. Inuit Tapariit Kanatami (ITK), the national organization representing the four Inuit regions across Canada, are organizing the Arctic journey. Inuit belong to the fabric of Canada, said Stephen Hendrie, Director of Communications for ITK. We are very proud to be part of this project and tour.
The quilt has already created an impact through its many exhibitions in-progress. In 2003 Invitation helped launch Canada’s first official Multiculturalism Day on Parliament Hill. It was featured in a five-page article in Canadian Living, in Canadian Geographic, the Ottawa Citizen, on CBC radio and City TV and in many other media.
In a speech during Invitations special debut exhibition in May 2000 at the Parliament Hills Hall of Honour, former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Herb Gray said: Each textile square is unique and beautiful on its own and yet together they take on a richness which is breathtaking, something to be preserved for our children, our children’s children and all future generations.
Invitation is a registered non-profit organization whose Board consists of volunteers representing different areas of expertise but who together share a common vision.