Finestre Migranti (Immigration Windows): an interaction between Cultures, Modernity And Textile Art

Victoria Varela "Homing"

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Verona, from 25 to 28 April 2019 VERONA TESSILE, organized by the Associazione Ad Maiora Finestre migranti in the Gran Guardia: an on going project, currently 70 meters long, made by textile artists from three continents

The Verona Tessile International Festival returns from Thursdaythrough Sunday 25 to 28 April, 2019. Organized by Ad Maiora Association, this biennial textile event receives the patronage of the City of Verona and the Department of Culture. Architect Maria Bussolin coordinates the Festival, which features work of artists from Italy,Europe and beyond. Verona Tessile will have exhibition spaces indifferent locations and within buildings of particular historical and architectural importance and Civic Museums.

In the prestigious space of the Gran Guardia, in the Multifunctional Room there will be the world premiere of Finestre Migranti (Immigration Windows), a collective quilt project on the theme of migration launched by Annamaria Brenti with the collaboration of Silvana Zenatello, Piera Quaglia, Maria Teresa Sansotta.

It all started in Frascati four years ago from an idea by quilt artist Annamaria Brenti (www.annamariabrentiquiltstudio.com)”As it often happens in art, ideas come from different directions,”Annamaria tells us. From one direction, an online edX.org [3] class on classic and contemporary philosophy of “Justic [4]e” led by Prof. Michael Sandel of Harvard University provided inspiration. From another direction, a textile technique Annamaria had used called “Cathedral Windows” witha history that traces roots in Asia, became the design base. Each window opens up into fragmented spaces, where each artist could express herself on the theme of migration in the broadest sense of the word, without any limitations of time nor space.

Annamaria, following the method described by Lynne Edwards in her book “Cathedral Windows and Beyond”, designed the template and made them available to download from her website. The patterns that serve as “bricks” that build and could be be permuted and modified infinitely.
Thanks to help from Silvana Zenatello, Nadia Realacci and the Scuola Romana Quilting, the project steadily expanded from Frascati toTuscany, Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Sicily, Sardinia to Chile, United States, Argentina, Israel, and Kenya. The Facebook page “Finestre Migranti [7] ” and the “quilts migranti” group was created to allow for the participating artists to stay in contact, and to welcome new contributors.

The quilts are meant to be viewed both as a single body and as a separate work of art made by each artist. Currently, the length of the project is almost 70 meters: by pure coincidence, this is the same length of the famous Bayeux tapestry [2], made nearly 1,000 years ago. Both describe a contemporary news event.

In FinestreMigranti, each artist expresses different themes: from the despair of a sea voyage, a the mirage of golden cities to the Mediterranean, a geographical map marked by ports of migrants; from the migration of animals in Kenya, to the rights and violations of migrant children; from the use of the veil of women in different religions to the journey of the fabrics in the world; from the passage of ideas and fauna in the San Francisco Bay to the story of the biblical Exodus in Genesis; from the work of migrants in the agricultural production in the United States, to the oldest shipwreck represented in history.

Thanks to the creative and organizational contributions of Silvana Zenatello and Piera Quaglia. Piera also involved a group of children in Turin, who receive the exhibit’s highest recognition.. Thanks to the Ad Maiora group who believed in this project and supported it from the beginning.

By debuting the FinestreMigranti in Verona, the city of love, the project hopes to leads us to a reflection and a feeling of empathy towards all aspects of the world of migration.

In the image gallery the details of some quilts participating in the project by Annamaria Brenti. Between these: the quilt of the group of the Valdese Church, Il Sogno Americano of Silvia Manni, Kenya Quilt Guild, the quilt of Luisella Marisio,  the quilt of the Embroidery Museum Don Mazza of Verona, Piera Quaglia and Hassan of Gambia

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