Newmarket’s Sacred Heart High celebrates diversity with textile art installation


This is the 13th quilt installed in a project by artist Nadine Williams called The Fabric of Our Being project

A textile art installation celebrating diversity unveiled at Sacred Heart Catholic High School is the 13th in artist Nadine Williams’ ambitious plan to see 1,000 quilts hung locally, regionally and internationally.

The quilt, which is part of a project Williams calls The Fabric of Our Being, was unveiled Friday, November 4, to an audience that included students, as well as its donor, Jim VanDusen, COO of NewRoads Automotive Group.

Williams launched the project and its goal of installing 1,000 quilts in 2017 to celebrate the International Decade for People of African Descent. Additional quilts were installed at a York Regional Police building, offices in the City of Vaughan, Union Station in Toronto, as well as a number of school boards and various other locations.

The quilt features a design combining Africa with Canada and the border is made of fabric representing various regions of Africa.

“What we’re looking at here is the African continent with the provinces of Canada, symbols representing the provinces,” Williams said of the design.

Although it was conceptualized and designed by Williams, Pickering residents Carole Brisebois and Michel Boisvert of In Stitches with Carole designed the quilt.

“I can’t sew, so I don’t take any credit for the stitches, but be careful, I plan to learn,” Williams said.

After the unveiling, she spoke to the students gathered there, sharing a song and her poetry with them.

She said a facility like this at a school aims to inspire young people.

Ava, a student at Sacred Heart and the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, read her poem, The Perpetual Foreigner, which she wrote about her experience.

“I think the BIPOC community, immigrants and the children of immigrants and grandchildren of immigrants all have such a variety of experiences and there is no way I can do justice to all of them in the three minutes that I’m here. So this piece is just a small glimpse into my life and myself as the daughter of two immigrants, ”she said.

Principal Olga Ferro said: “We also say to the Sacred Heart that everyone is taken care of, loved and welcome. We have to say it, we can’t just put it on our posters, we can’t just say it. We need to be inclusive and welcoming no matter who the person in front of us is and that’s what it is.

She added that she hopes in the future to hold another ceremony to introduce the Fabric of Our Being project to the whole school, as only a small number of students were able to attend.

The school’s deputy principal, Danny DiLallo, attended and moderated the ceremony. Participants included VanDusen and Rachel Hawtin of NewRoads, as well as Kelly Broome, Councilor for Newmarket Ward 6.

“Mr. Jim VanDusen, I cannot thank you enough,” said Williams. “This man was a complete stranger to me. I met him in his office and he said yes.


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