Quilt of Belonging

Did you know that at least one person from every world nationality can be found living in Canada? They are also found in the Quilt of Belonging, a collaborative art project on a national scale. Speaking to Canada’s heritage, it is composed of 263 unique and individualized panels, forming a completed tapestry measuring 10 feet tall by 120 feet long.

It was conceived, organized and completed under the direction of Ontario-based fibre artist Esther Bryan. She calls the Quilt of Belonging “a collaborative work of art that recognizes Canada’s diversity, celebrates our common humanity, and promotes harmony and compassion among people.” Extensive research, identifying Canada’s many cultural faces, has been the foundation of this project. With assistance from the Assembly of First Nations, Department of Indian Affairs, Canadian Museum of Civilization, and native groups themselves, listings were compiled of all our country’s First Peoples: Metis, First Nations, and Inuit, all of whom are represented in the quilt.

It took Bryan and her team six years to research and locate artists to create the panels, each representative of their unique culture and nationality. Thousands of calls and letters, and countless visits were made to organizations, immigration centres, Native bands, churches, embassies, and individual contacts. Appeals were made in the media and needlecraft publications.

“Together,” Bryan says, “the panels record human history in textile, illustrating the beauty, complexity and sheer size of the human story.”

The Quilt of Belonging has been embraced by each of the 25 communities that have hosted it, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa; the Glenbow Museum in Calgary; the Community Centre in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut Territory; and the Cultural Olympiad 2010 in Vancouver. Thus far 1.3 million visitors have seen the quilt.

A fascinating bilingual website exploring all aspects of the creation, production, and exhibition of the quilt can be found at www.invitationproject.ca, and a 296-page, fully illustrated catalogue is available in the Gallery Shop in both English and French.

Check out this review by CBC's Alison Gillmor.

Click here for an interview with Esther Bryan by Alison Mayes, Winnipeg Free Press.

Céleste Campion., Namibia.

Related Programs & Events

Past Programs & Events

  • Art for Lunch - Curator's Tour

    Join Esther Bryan, the creator of the Quilt of Belonging for a discussion on the ideas and inspiration behind this remarkable project.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011 from 12:10pm to 1pm

  • Members' Preview

    Special membere's preview of William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleage and Quilt of Belonging.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 11am to 5pm

  • Public Opening

    Free public opening of William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague and Quilt of Belonging.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 8pm to 10pm

  • Quilt of Belonging Contest

    Creat a quilt block telling us YOUR story.

    Friday, June 3, 2011 to Saturday, August 20, 2011

  • World of Belonging

    A special day of family activities celebrating Canadian indigenous cultures through music and art-making.

    Sunday, August 21, 2011 from 11am to 5pm


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  • Wednesday 11am-5pm
  • Thursday 11am-5pm
  • Friday 11am-9pm
  • Saturday 11am-5pm
  • Sunday 11am-5pm
  • Closed Monday

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