Invitation: Quilt of Belonging
Launch of a National Tour and Book
at Canadian Museum of Civilization
March 1, 2005
WILLIAMSTOWN, ONTARIO - 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 Ethnocultural Council, opens Invitation's
inaugural exhibition, which will be on view to the public from April
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
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 Invitation's special debut exhibition in May
2000 at the Parliament Hill's 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. For a history of the project
including the list of Board members and corporate sponsors visit
the website www.invitationproject.ca
Media Contact: Esther Bryan, Project Artist/ Coordinator
Invitation Project, Box 100, Williamstown,
Ontario K0C 2J0
Phone: 613 347-2381
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