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Hindu Quilt Brings Faith And Friends Together

Nirmala Garimella

From Bahai to Buddhism, African American Muslim to Turkish Muslim, from Christianity to Scientology, Hinduism and Jewish religion, it was a cornucopia of faith and belief and a forming of a world wide community at the Faith Quilts Project in Boston recently.

The Faith Quilts Projects was started by Clara Wainwright of Allston, MA. She is the founder of First Night Boston, the New Year Eve celebration of arts and community. The Fifty-Seven Quilts of the Faith Quilts Project culminated in April 2006 with a month long exhibition of the Faith Quilts, opening at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts from April 7th to l0th. From there, the quilts moved to four satellite locations both at the exhibition sites and in locations in the Boston area.

One visitor to the project described it as “truly spectacular and awe inspiring” which drew peoples of many faith to visually express their belief and tradition.
The Keystone Montessori School  came up with a Hindu Quilt that brought together families, friends and teachers to create a colorful, inspirational and visually appealing Hindu quilt. Sudha Jamthe, one of the parents involved said she and others were amazed at the final product which was a culmination of discussions, experimentation, workshops and thought provoking conversations exploring similarities and differences among various Hindu practices. According to her “through these dialogues, we found some unity in the diversity, and our resulting quilt reflects those unifying themes: light, lamps, and diyas, the importance and sacredness of animals, the singing of shlokas, and the intense colors and textures of Hindu life”
The quilt designed in the form of a mandala with symbols represented their faith statement. The team spent hours and weeks bringing it to fruition. Prabha Vajjhala, a teacher at Keystone and  very modest about her work,  sat up till 12.30 one night with other parents and brainstormed and came up with the first character for the quilt scenary and "respect to elders".
Other involved included Ruchi Agrawal, Vrinda Ashoka, Prerna Jain, Kathy Little, Sonika Mehra, Nandini Narendran, Dr. Rajagopalan Raghavan, Usha Rangan, Chitra Shenoy, Priya Shrivastava who contributed through iron on transfers, glass work and embellishments and ideas for scenary etc.

Sue Wood, Business Manager of Keystone Montessori School, who was the inspiration to get started on the project shared her thoughts, “We worked with an artist, Merill Comeau, who has worked with other groups to create community quilts.It was interesting that we discovered so much variety in the rituals and traditions of our Hindu families. Throughout the variation, there were some common themes:  respect for elders, the importance of OM, shlokas, and the use of diya or lamps. It was interesting for the Hindu participants to share their traditions and discover the many differences and similarities. This project also created a wonderful dialogue between the western participants (like myself), and the Indian participants. It was a delight to learn about the traditions, beliefs, and customs of Hindu life".

There were other Hindu Quilts titled ‘ Das Avatar by Lead Quilter/Facilitator: Punita Khatau and Collaborative Quilters: Nita Mulani, Pradnya Agarwal, Nita Udeshi, 'Kali ': Collaborative Quilters : Kristy Wacek, Asherah Bridge, Amanda Brooks and 'Shakti — An Ode to Goddess Durga', Lead Quilter/Facilitator:Clara Wainwright Collaborative Quilters:Neena Gulati, Ranj Sarin, Manika Srivastav.

To view these and many more click on http//www.faithquilts.org

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Keystone Montessori Hindu Quilt


Das Avatar


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