"Sewing Community: Ahadi Quilts, NGOs, and the Politics of Textiles in Africa"

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Contact: Patricia · pbboyett@loyno.edu · 865-3082

Location: Audubon Room, 2nd Floor, Danna Center

In honor of International Women’s Day and as part of the Feminist Festival, the Women’s Resource Center in conjunction with the History Department and the African and African American Studies Committee will be hosting an event featuring the exhibition of a set of quilts, known as the Ahadi (hope) Quilts, produced by women survivors of sexual violence working with a grassroots NGO called SOS Femmes en Danger in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010. 

In addition to the exhibition of the stunning quilts, the event will feature three speakers. Dr. Anne Helke, a recent PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and expert on Women’s narrative will discuss her research on the Ahadi quilts as texts which work to center the experiences, concerns, and hopes of women in the Congo. Dr. Nicole Eggers (Loyola Assistant Professor of History), an expert on the history of the DRC who has worked closely with SOS Femme en Danger, will discuss the work of the NGO and the challenges that it and other grassroots NGOs face in trying to do women-centered work in Eastern Congo.  Dr. Eggers hopes to include a short video interview with the founders of SOS Femme en Danger Marceline Kongolo and Amisi Mas in her talk. Unfortunately, because they are currently living in exile in Canada (exiled because of thier work), visa issues make it impossible for them to travel to New Orleans to participate in person. Finally, Emilie Songolo, who works as senior academic librarian to the African Studies Collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will speak on her research on the politics of commemorative fabrics in Africa and the work she has done to archive a collection of those fabrics. 

Together, the speakers hope to evoke a critical conversation about both the challenges and possibilities that women in Congo  - and also Africa more broadly - contend with in their endeavors to sew community.