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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Groundswell sparks craftivism

An uncommon precursor for an exhibition, the Museum of Australian Democracy’s (MoAD) latest, #UDHRquiltproject, all started with an Instagram direct message.

Melbourne craftivist and project coordinator Tal Fitzpatrick told Canberra Weekly. It came about when artist Stephanie Dunlop from Phoenix, Arizona reached out over the social media platform in early 2017.

“It was post-Brexit, Trump had just been inaugurated, everything was going down with the Muslim ban and Stephanie just felt it was time to do something that celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and brings attention to the way it’s being violated,” she said.

“Her idea was to embroider the UDHR, but it’s actually a very big document and embroidering takes a very long time, so she was looking for people to collaborate on the project with.

“I thought it was such a great idea, we put a call out for artists and within three days we’d had such a response we could make the quilt four times over.”

In total there are over 131 contributing artists who contributed to the four quilts that comprise the exhibition.

Some of the participants were first time embroiders, some were hobbyists, while others were trained professionals.

The artists come from over 21 different countries, represent over 45 different nationalities and are aged between 19 and 62 years old.

Fitzpatrick said she felt MoAD was such a fitting location for the exhibition of the quilts, as Old Parliament House is the very building where Australia signed on to the UDHR 70 years ago.

“I don’t think we could have found a better home to start this project off.

“The role that Australia plays in this space, it all comes out of the seat of power that Canberra is. I think it’s a wonderful place to be having these conversations about rights and how we hold people accountable to them,” she said.

#UDHRquiltproject is on display at MoAD Old Parliament House and will be until mid-2019. A number of crafting workshops will also take place as part of the exhibit; moadoph.gov.au

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