Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Stars for International Women's Day 2017

2017 IWD event Newcastle 

It has become a tradition in Newcastle ( NSW Australia) that International Women's Day is celebrated in style at  Timeless Textiles Gallery , with a message of peace, community and compassion and  a public stand against violence. Over the  years, we have made artistic fabric birds to raise funds for women's refuges; stitched 500 metres of white ribbon to raise funds for the anti-violence organisation, White Ribbon;  held free community workshops to create a huge fabric footpath mural; stitched prayer flags to support a women's project in India  and made a giant bird which was auctioned to supply tertiary education to underprivileged women in Nepal.

This year, 2017  the focus  at Timeless Textiles was again strengthening a community against violence - the One Million Stars to End Violence Project. Thanks to Anne Kempton, gallerist and the Newcastle Star Weave community , today's event was truly a celebration of all that 2017 International Women's Day stands for -  "Be Bold for Change " - creating a world of equality, gender parity and peace.
2017 IWD event Newcastle - Sharon Claydon MP 

2017 IWD event Newcastle - Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes
The "One Million Stars to End Violence"project began as a personal response by  weaver Maryann Talia Pau to the horrifying rape and murder of a young woman in her community in Victoria.  Maryann was inspired by these words :

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Dr Martin Luther King Jnr

and sent out a Facebook message to the world to join her in weaving a million stars by 2018. This is Maryann's message : 
"To me, one million stars represents how monumental the task of ending violence is and that everyone needs to participate to end all forms of violence. Each star represents a person’s commitment to practise light, hope, courage and solidarity and the one million star installation will be a peaceful statement against all forms of violence in our communities." 
Maryann Talia Pau at Timeless Textiles Gallery 
The one million stars will be a shimmering, bright installation at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, held on the Gold Coast, Queensland as a part of the vision of the Commonwealth Games program to build and support sustainable and peaceful communities worldwide.  As leader of this global project, Maryann has been travelling to Commonwealth countries in the lead up to 2018 Games, connecting with communities and teaching weaving workshop with this message of peace.  What an inspiration! 
2017 IWD event - some members of the Newcastle Star Weave community. 
Just as inspiring is the  Newcastle Star Weave community, a small group of committed people who  have been teaching many others over the last  year  to weave the stars with a target of 10,000 stars to be completed by International Women's Day. The goal was achieved well before today, and these stars will become part of the one million. What a visible reminder that we can all achieve a dream together. Thank you to all involved - the power of each one of you offers hope to the world. 
Happy International Women's Day! 

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