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.