President Obama Quilt - Artist Statement

You know, Australia too was colonized and then worked its way to independence. I have an intense interest in history. I believe you are better equipped to know where you are going and who you are traveling with, if you shrug off ignorance and embrace a knowledge of those who have gone before.

The first settlers were my family and friends of family. How do I reconcile my pride of these amazingly brave people with my embarrassment over their attitudes towards native peoples, racial and religious intolerance? I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible and unnecessary. Impossible because no one determines what period of history they are born in, what family they are raised in, what norms concerning religion and race they are soaked in. Unnecessary as my responsibility is to share their story even handedly and be responsible for my own actions and attitudes.

I have been watching for an event that would reveal and celebrate the incredible generosity of spirit the challenges of the last 100 years have put in our hearts. I passionately believe each one of us take very seriously our personal responsibility for the worthy human being living, working, by our side. I think we have come a long way in finding value in our family traditions, our roots, while allowing ourselves to feel a love for whatever country we now call home.

Out of this complex consideration of past and present comes the simple word : hope. Hope epitomizes a state of mind that took action and elected Mr Obama.

The campaign language: “Yes, we can.”, “Change”, rang true for peoples living beyond the shores of the United States of America. Australian television channels broke into regular programming for President Elect Obama’s acceptance speech in Chicago, November 5 2008. People here stopped and listened, were moved to tears.

I have been inspired by Jefferson, "all men are created equal", Martin Luther King Jnr, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. “ and President Elect Obama’s determination “Yes we can”.

I feel priviliged to offer my quilt for the show at Montgomery College. My quilt has elements from Kenya, Kansas and the USA because you know, not one of us stands alone, unaffected by our forefathers or untouched by present time pressures. I am inspired by a man who campaigned not on fear, cliché or race. But on the contents of his character.

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