Surprises in the Tapestry

Our joyride around town (check out the video on our blog) in the Tapestry of Hope tuktuk was my second favorite thing about it – we took the tuktuk on the town to share the messages with Vientiane residents, making sure to take a ride around That Dam (a monument which happens to be right next to the U.S. Embassy).

The other amazing thing about the Tapestry were some of the illustrations submitted by the security guards who were drawn to our tent because of the availability of our chairs.  They left illustrations that were eerily similar to the original illustrations which inspired the beginning of Legacies of War: images of villages, American planes, and bombs made by Plain of Jars refugees from the air war.

Check out the new submissions below, and the original 1970-1971 images at the Legacies of War website.  We were lucky enough to see some of the originals here in Laos on their first return to Laos since their creation, and the images are amazing and inspiring, reminding me of the power of art to remember and visualize future solutions.

Tapestry successfully installed at the 1MSP

The Tapestry of Hope: Weaving Together a Bomb-Free Future was woven together in all its glory for the Convention on Cluster Munitions.  The tapestry is a project that started in the United States, with workshops across the country to collect art responses to these questions:

  • What does a bomb-free Lao look like to you?
  • What is your solution to cluster bombs problems in Laos?
  • What is your message for the people hurt by cluster bombs?
  • What is your message to the people in the U.S. and internationally (imagine those attending the Convention)

Chanida Phaengdara, another Legacies of War volunteer, and I spent the week running around Vientiane gathering the pieces to install the Tapestry in a tent outside of Don Chan Palace, where the meeting will be held, including collecting a tuk-tuk to hang the art on!

The Tapestry was unveiled with a Lao Coffee Party – we invited members of the convention and public to come through, drink Lao coffee, see all the amazing pieces that were made by people across the U.S., and to create their own piece.  New pieces were created by a Macedonian journalist, a Cambodian munitions survivor, a Lao security guard, a West Virginian art teacher, and members of Legacies of War.  The Prime Minister also came by and we snapped a photo with him!  The tent will be up all week during the convention, with instructions for people to create pieces to add to the Tapestry and to bring home for more art exhibits.

I loved the pieces created for the Tapestry – most of the artists who made the pieces don’t identify as artists and had to be strongarmed into creating them.  But the art is truly powerful.  Big international conventions, with logos and suits and metal detectors, aren’t really my thing – but I believe in the power of so-called “unimportant” people coming together, creating solutions, and sharing wisdom, and the workshops for the tapestry were amazing in this way.  I hope that people (“important” people included!) from all over the world will come and create pieces to add to it, and that the Tapestry continues to inspire creativity and artwork on its future journeys.

For more pictures and more information about the 1MSP and Convention on Cluster Munitions, check out our 1MSP blog.

Submissions from the Bay Area workshop

Again, too many good ones to put up here!  More to come!


New submissions from New York

A couple samples of pieces were done by Social Work students at Columbia in New York (and their children).  Too many good ones to put them all up!


Tapestry in Minnesota is growing!

October 2, 2010 Tapestry of Hope and Refugee Nation Theatre Workshop in Minnesota

Submission by E. Ethelbert Miller


Why do bombs cluster and people remain reluctant to organize?
Why can’t we cluster for peace?
What would happen if love exploded or simply fell from the sky?
Would we gather the many pieces and call them hope?

I sit across the table from Channapha- listening to legacies of war.
Laos becomes a destination on her tongue.
I hear her heart singing a healing song.
I wait for her to pour another swirling story into my bowl.

– E. Ethelbert Miller

Submissions by Lisa Nowlain

Here are a couple samples.