Nuala Pell fellows bring advocacy quilts exhibit to Rhode Island
Salve Regina will host an exhibition of 18 advocacy quilts that expose injustice around the world and also make a powerful plea for compassion. “A Global Call for Mercy: Vulnerable Communities Speak Out Through Quilts,” will run from March 8-16 in Ochre Court, with a reception scheduled for Thursday, March 10.
The exhibition is being organized by students in the Nuala Pell Leadership Program in response to the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The quilts will be grouped into the five critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: Earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism and women. A sixth theme will feature quilts by children. Several students from the program, including Kathryn Clancy, Luc Copeland, Brittany Fox, Alexis Jankowski, Jake Lang, Amanda Reis and Kay Scanlan, will serve as docents for each theme.
The quilts are on loan from the Advocacy Project (AP), a Washington-based nonprofit that supports community advocates in the Global South. AP helps disempowered communities tell their stories through quilting and reach an international audience.
The 18 quilts on display protest against discrimination, poverty and pollution in 14 countries. More than 150 individuals, almost all of them women and children, contributed embroidered squares, including: women in the DRC and Mali who have survived war rape; Roma women who were expelled from France; children in Nepal who were rescued from child labor; family members of those who disappeared in Peru and Guatemala; children who live in garbage in India; and people who suffered disability during the wars in northern Uganda and Vietnam. One quilt from Uganda even describes child sacrifice.
“Many of the images are graphic, but these are personal statements and a plea to be heard,” said Kay Scanlan ’18, a Nuala Pell Fellow who is one of the exhibition organizers.
Most of the squares were embroidered with help from American Peace Fellows (graduate students) volunteering abroad through AP’s fellowship program. Several fellows will attend the March 10 reception. Quilters from Rhode Island will also be featured at the exhibition. Fourteen of the quilts on display were assembled by expert quilters in the U.S., including Barbara Barber from Westerly and Allison Wilbur from Barrington, thus ensuring the highest quality and helping to build a constituency in the U.S. for the artists.
The exhibition will also feature video footage of American quilters at work on quilts from Bangladesh, the Congo and Peru. Several are shown expressing deep compassion for their southern partners.
“A Global Call for Mercy” will be open for self-guided tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends. The March 10 reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will feature remarks from representatives of Salve Regina and the Advocacy Project. RSVP for the reception.