Kids patch up international relations

The handiwork of school kids from urban south Bronx to rural northern India will soon be on display on the Queens College (QC) campus, promoting peace and understanding in time for the holidays.
“Power to the Peaceful: Peace Quilts from Around the World,” will be at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at the college, located at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard in Flushing from Monday, December 15 through Thursday, January 15.
The exhibition grew out of the Peace Quilt project, a unique collaboration among QC art education professor Rikki Asher, the East Bronx Academy for the Future, and a vocational school for girls operated by the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society in a village in Bulandshar, India.
Last year, Asher visited the girls’ school, which provides free training in block printing, appliqu/, and embroidery - highly marketable skills that will help the young artisans escape a life of poverty.
Returning to Pardada Pardadi this year, she brought a gift - a quilt made by students at the East Bronx Academy for the Future, a struggling new school actually located in the South Bronx.
Then she led a workshop to help the Indian students sew a quilt they could send back in exchange.
“It is vitally important for global understanding to go hand in hand with globalization,” Asher said, pointing out that the project “Demonstrates understanding and empathy in a way that no business arrangement ever could.”
“They rose to the challenge of creating works that communicate the essence of their lives through art,” she said.
In addition to the students’ project - which will be displayed permanently at the Bronx school afterwards - the exhibition includes one by 19 Pardada Pardadi teachers; both celebrate the theme of world peace.
These works of textile art hang alongside “Peace Story Quilt,” three panels by celebrated contemporary artist Faith Ringgold, who designed the triptych with school-age contributors to “What Will You Do for Peace? Impact of 9/11 on New York City Youth,” a book produced by the InterRelations Collaborative.
That quilt has been displayed across the United States, bringing its message of hope and healing from coast to coast, according to the museum. “Understanding and interaction across cultures are key elements in the creation of these quilts,” said museum director Amy Winter.
Other quilts in the exhibition include the “Human Rights and Social Justice Quilt” by students and staff at the Eleanor Roosevelt Community Center for Girls in Hyde Park, New York, which takes its theme from Eleanor Roosevelt’s mission statement for the Center - “to create a world where social justice prevails.”
The “Mandala” and “Tarot” quilts were made at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in upstate Rhinebeck, as part of its ongoing peace quilt project.
Fabric artist Helema Kadir oversaw the creation of these three artworks, as well as a quilt by Queens College art education students that is also in the show.
The displays are augmented with photographs and videos illustrating the production of the works, as well as appliqu/d banners made by the Indian students that highlight school activities such as reading, biking, and cricket.
Admission is free at the Godwin-Ternbach museum, the only comprehensive collection of art and artifacts in Queens, housing over 3,700 objects that date from ancient to modern times.
Museum hours are Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is open on Sundays during related exhibition events. Please call the museum at 718-997-4747 for more information on the exhibition and public programs, or visit https://www.qc.cuny. edu/godwin_ ternbach.

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