Bloomington Open Studios Tour

Lotus Education & Arts Foundation

The Lotus Education & Arts Foundation year-long 2016 visual arts initiative, “1 Million Stars to End Violence: Lotus International Star-Weaving Project” officially kicked off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January. Throughout 2016 Lotus will host public star weaving workshops, including during Bloomington's Open Studio Tours. Participants will learn to weave an eight-pointed star and find out more about its ties to Samoan weaving traditions as well as to the worldwide movement. Drop-in; recommended for ages 8 to adult.

Lotus is one of only two U.S. partners with the Australia-based project “1 Million Stars to End Violence,” an international effort inspired by a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Alongside participating #Weave100Communities around the world, Lotus has committed to weaving and contributing at least 10,000 eight-pointed stars made from ribbon and recycled materials, in support of the larger international goal to create and display 1,000,000 stars.

Lotus is bringing together Bloomington and the wider region over 2016 in support of this effort, leading star-weaving workshops throughout the local area and inviting a broad range of community partners to get involved with their own “weave jams.” Stars woven by our community will be featured in an installation at the 23rd Lotus World Music & Arts Festival (September 16-17), at an exhibit at Bloomington City Hall in December, and then as part of a worldwide installation of 1,000,000 stars in 2018.

The “One Million Stars” project originated as a response to a widely decried violent crime in Australia that happened around the corner from the founding artist’s studio. In the aftermath of the tragedy, project founder and textile artist Maryann Talia Pau found resonance between Dr. King, Jr.’s statement and the importance of stars and weaving in her own Pacific Island heritage. Weaving traditions are strong throughout South Pacific culture, especially with the indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait and Samoa. Additionally, symbolism stems from “Matariki”, a Maori word referring to the Pleiades star cluster. Like many South Pacific islanders, the Maori relied on stars to navigate across the sea between interconnected islands. This navigation can reference our own human journey, spanning cultures around the world and exercising our “strength to love” over violence.

“These beautiful stars are symbols of light, courage and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying, and racism,” says Pau. “Every woven star reminds us that we have to MAKE peace and safe spaces and that it doesn’t just happen. Every star is a commitment to resist violence and revenge, to believe in forgiveness and healing.”