The African Art Museum of the Society of African Missions (SMA Fathers) announces the opening of Pax Rwanda: Embroideries by Women of Savane Rutongo, an exhibit that celebrates a unique collection of embroideries and the women who created them.

This opening will include a panel of speakers who will discuss the exhibit and other topics concerning modern Rwanda. The women who create these embroideries live in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis.

Inspired by Rwandan culture and the use of color by great European masters, these women capture with needle and thread what the painter accomplishes with brush and paint. Their vibrant work depicts Rwandan village life and traditions, people, animals, and traditional African designs.

Discussion panelists include Kathleen F. Malu, PhD, Associate Professor of Education at William Paterson University and Fulbright Scholar in Rwanda. She will speak about cross-cultural issues and give a first-hand account of life as a mwanzu in Rwanda thirty years ago and today. Jean-Pierre Karegeye, PhD, Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Macalester College in Minnesota, founder of the Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Center, will speak about the post-genocide reconstruction. Jean-GratienUwisavye, French teacher in Teaneck Public Schools, NJ, will talk about children and education in Rwanda. Elizabeth Arend, formerly a public health worker in Rwanda, will speak about health issues. John and Juliana Meehan who, together with Dr. Malu created this collection of embroideries, will speak about their experiences as tourists in Rwanda. Christiane Rwatagare, founder and director of the women’s embroidery workshop, will speak about the development and creation of embroideries.

Museum director, Robert Koenig, notes, “The SMA Fathers African Art Museum is pleased to present these works and engage the public in this important discussion. Supporting such works and artisans is exactly in line with the mission of this museum.”

The opening and panel discussion will take place at the African Art Museum, 23 Bliss Avenue, Tenafly, NJ, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The embroideries will be on display through December 31, 2011. Hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm seven days a week. Admission is free and donations are welcome.

The museum is located at 23 Bliss Avenue, Tenafly, New Jersey.

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