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Global Exhibit

Thursdays in Black Global Exhibit: Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance

Communities and individuals of all faiths and none are invited to make a powerful, international statement of their commitment to end rape and violence through contributing to a large tapestry exhibit being developed by the World Council of Churches for its Assembly in 2021.

The tapestry is designed as a waterfall with messages and images from around the world. In addition to the WCC Assembly, it is intended to be displayed at other prominent locations, from the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva to the United Nations in New York.

The waterfall is based on the Thursdays in Black design, with the pilgrimage lines in white and purple.

How can I be involved?

Make a panel! Individuals and groups can prepare square cloth panels with images and messages that reflect your hope and commitment to overcome gender-based abuse and violence. They might lift up an individual who has made you most aware of the issues, or a scripture passage, or a picture or image that to you means a journey for healing or solidarity. These are just some ideas - what is on the panel is up to you.

What is required is:

  • Panels should be in cloth, 30 cm x 30 cm (12in x 12in) with a 1cm/half inch border for joining panels together
  • Ideally, the background colour should be black, purple or white

When completed, please post your square along with a page describing who has prepared the square and any background or story on the image or message* to:

Nicole Ashwood
Just Community of Women and Men
World Council of Churches
P.O. Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland

* If there is any part of the background that you do not wish to be shared publicly as part of the promotion of the tapestry or the exhibit itself, please clearly indicate this when submitting.

Photos of the people working on the square are also encouraged, and can be sent to sara.speicher@wcc-coe.org.

Squares can be sent in at any time.

A selection of panels

We will feature here some of the panels that have been sent in so far. They come with painful and powerful stories as well as hopeful examples of solidarity against gender-based violence. The waterfall tapestry will include the full stories of panels.

Trust, Dignity, Courage, Hope #ThursdaysinBlack

"My square of cloth shows a girl who is hiding her eyes. She does not see or perceive anything and at the same time she shows an anxious, defensive posture by doing that. In other words: She is hiding from life.

"This picture reminds me of the darkest phase of my trauma, in which I was "stuck" for a long time. The world had become scary to me. Despite various support from my parents and friends, it was not possible for me living my life. The hands stretched out in solidarity towards the girl show and symbolize the things that this girl was missing at that time: Trust, Dignity, Courage Hope.

"Thursdays in Black is a campaign that unites solidarity in this field of vulnerability.

"It gives not only victims like me but all people a platform of solidarity in the fight against rape and gender-based violence - not only for exchanging experiences, which is the focus in many other places, but in a multi-layered, intelligent and cautious activist way. At the same time, one feels - especially as a victim - a hopeful orientation, which goes hand in hand with joint, solidarity-based actions and statements."

Waldensian Church Luserna

Panel for the Tapestry by the Waldensian Church of Luserna San Giovanni, Italy

We are a minority church that had endured persecution for many centuries. The Huguenot cross on the panel remembers our difficult history, which as made us particularly sensitive about human rights and dignity. We are convinced that we have to denounce any violence and injustice that happens within our families, communities and countries until every person is free to express him- or herself in respect of the others.

In our church, women had a very special role, especially in the beginning, when we were still a medieval heretical movement. The women of our church wear a traditional costume the day we celebrate the gaining of civil rights, on Feb. 17th every year. For this reason, we added a woman in our traditional costume, but instead of black shoes, sh is wearing red ones. The red shoes express our desire for women’s rights and for a world without violence against them.

The symbol of our church is a candle lit in the darkness underlined by the words “Lux lucet in tenebris” (“the light shines in the darkness”). Violence against women, rape and injustice, is nothing else but evil and darkness, and we ask Christ to bring light to those that suffer and to drive out the darkness.

Our panel represents our pledge to speak up against violence and rape, to follow the light of Christ and stand with the women that have been raped and mistreated.

The panel was made by the women of our sewing group and presented to the whole community during worship on November 24th, 2019.

Women's guild Lubeck

Sign of solidarity from the women's guild of the church district Lübeck-Lauenburg

As part of this international campaign, we would like to see an end to violence and the sexual exploitation of children and women and a free, self-determined, non-violent life for everyone… Women and girls affected by violence need clear signs of solidarity so that they know that they are not alone but part of a worldwide network.

We chose a soft violet colour for the background because the women who have been hurt often long to be able to drop the protective concepts they have been trained in, and to be in touch with other people with their softer sides again.

The three women working on the patch chose a colour to work with in on the fabric, and they worked in dialogue, also expressing their thoughts in a poetic text:

Grenzüberschreitungen
zwischen tod und
wachstum macht und
ohnmacht schreie
drüber weggehort

ein riss durch
leben körper
seele zieht sich
fort stumme
laute schreie
ungehört
überhört
kein gesicht
zum schrei
was halt
noch
zusammen
und schützt
ist es das wissen
um den
unverletzbaren
teil ganz tief
drinnen ein riss
durch den licht
dringt mit
wandlungskraft was
bleibt:
die sehnsucht nach ROSA

Andrea Czichy, Birga Alheid, Silke Meyer©

This stark and powerful panel was prepared by the Klipspruit West Methodist Church Women Association of South Africa. “It depicts a lady that’s constantly abused, and we are calling out for the abuse to stop.”

Help to illustrate or assemble the waterfall

WCC invites Expressions of Interest to assist in the realisation of a “Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance” based on the Thursdays in Black campaign. Skills sought are:

1)    Artist to work with staff in illustrating the design concept of the “Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance”. Timeline: as soon as possible

2)    Quilters and Sewers who can assist in assembling contributed panels into the “streams” of the waterfall.  Timeline: from end 2019 through mid 2021; participation can be for a designated shorter time period.

Artists and quilters will be recognized in WCC communication about the exhibit and can have agreed expenses covered.

For more information on the exhibit or to offer to be involved, please email media@wcc-coe.org