Friday, February 10, 2006

This afternoon (2/9), while I was away from ROOM 103 and you played with my sub, I went to the MSU museum in East Lansing to meet my friends from the Lattice group. Lattice is a multi-cultural organization that meets monthly to exchange resources, study culture, discuss global issues and reach out to local and international communities thru charity and outreach projects. At the museum, we went to study a new exhibit called "Weaving of War: Fabric of Memory" and "Siyazama: Traditional Education in AIDS in South Africa". The exhibit had collections of art that had themes of war, conflict and AIDS education. I love going to Lattice because I not only meet my good friends but I come back to ROOM103 with a bag full of ideas and a brain full of inspiration. So be prepared to hear a lot about the affects of War and AIDS (2 topics that are currently very prominant in the media). In this picture, you can see the group listening to the welcome remarks by the museum curator. If you look closely at some of these carpets from Afghanistan on the wall, you will see helicopters, granades, tanks and machine guns. Posted by Picasa
My good friends Nomalanga(South Africa) and Rennta (Pakistan) and I had a lot of laughs together. Rennta will be having a baby soon and that will be a lot of fun. Posted by Picasa
The stories of the women behind these embrodaries are compelling. Here are two of my friends mezmerized by the stories if the plight of the Hmong. Posted by Picasa
The Hmong are a mountain tribe in Asia. During the Vietnam war, they were not only allies but very reliable guides thru the treacherous mountains to the US army. When the US soldiers moved out, the vietnamese armies turned on the Hmong and began to systematically anahilate them. The US recued many Hmong families and took as many as would come with them. Many who stayed suffered horribly in the hands of Vietnamese. Many made it to refugee camps in Tailand where they where able to get papers to leave Vietnam. Because of the monotonous nature of the refugee camps, camp organizers gathered people, especially women to tell their stories. They were asked to depict a day they would never forget. With donated fabric and threads they were able to create these embroidered war memories. This piece depicts a group of Hmong people (in black) fleeing their village just before the Vietnamese soldiers (in green) arrive. They cross the Mekong river with banboo canes under arm or with intertubes to find safety on the coast of Tailand. Lansing area has a large population of Hmong Americans. Posted by Picasa
This detail shows the Hmong getting in planes to come to America. Posted by Picasa
This detail in one of the embroderies caught my eye. It shows Hmong people reaching the safety of the other side of the Mekong river just to be ambushed by Vietnamese soldiers. I was commenting on the black Hmong costumes when I realize that the red detail on their clothes were gun shot wounds!!! I couldn't look away. Most of these pieces had similar and even more creepy details. Posted by Picasa
This is a swatch of Hmong fabric from a dress that has war helicopters intricately embroidered on it! Posted by Picasa
This beadwork was comissioned by a South African township to serve as educational tools for the prevention of AIDS. Posted by Picasa
This embrodary is from Africa where AIDS is a pandemic. The women that sewed this piece made is as a way to educate their counterparts. It show different ways in which on can get aids and how the community can help. All the colors that you see are stitched with tiny stitches of thread. Posted by Picasa

Saad is from Afghanistan. He and I had an amazing discussion about the current views of Islam. It was important that I talk to him today because I really wanted his opinion about the insensitive cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad that have been in the news all month. I ate lunch with him today but he could eat cause he was fasting. Religious Muslims like him were fasting today to celebrate the 10th day of the Muslim new year. He gave me to DVDs about the life of Prophet Muhammad that he would like me to share with you. When we study Islam this year, he wants to come to ROOM 106 to share his knowledge with us. Posted by Picasa
After reflecting on the War Art, we got a chance to discuss our opinions with the group. Imagine getting a discussion with people from all over the world. People with different religious beliefs, upbringing, backgrounds and points of view...It is such an eye opening experience for me every time. Just when I think I am comfortable with my opinion, someone from a different part of the world reminds me how relative my views are. Here is my friend Kurnia (Indonesia) sharing her point of view. Posted by Picasa
One of the things I most love about Lattice is the food. Everyone brings foods from their country and we all get to try each others cooking. Today I tasted a dish from Palestine. It was very good. This Spring, Latice will be publishing a cultural cookbook. Proceeds will go to the various charities and projects that Lattice sponsors. Posted by Picasa
This are all my good friends from Lattice. There are more than 30 countries represented in this group. We have all become family (since we are all so far away from our real families) and a great cultural resource for each other. Posted by Picasa