By Katherine Hyde
The Cottage Place Gallery in Ridgewood is pleased to present “Pax Rwanda: Embroideries of the Women of Savane Rutongo,” September 8 through September 30, at the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood.
The opening reception will be held Saturday, September 8, from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, and there will be a slide lecture on Saturday, September 29 at 7:00 PM by Juliana Meehan, collector and creator of this traveling exhibit. The public is welcome. Other hours are by appointment. Please call 201-444-6225. The Gallery is located at the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, 113 Cottage Place, Ridgewood, NJ, www.uuridgewood.org.
These stunning embroideries are made by a group of Rwandan women who live in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis. They sit side by side each day in a sparsely furnished building in the village of Rutongo outside Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. They work together in the hope that their children will have a better future. They reflect a larger phenomenon taking place all over Rwanda: reconstruction, reconciliation, and the desire for peace.
The embroiderers call their workshop “Savane Rutongo,” after the village in which they live. The women receive months of training. They learn how to create the various stitches that give the works their depth and texture, and choose and blend the colors of the cotton threads. Smaller pieces usually take one woman two to three months to complete. Larger pieces can take two women more than three months to complete. Through their skill, inspiration, and talent, they bring the embroideries to life, infusing them with a remarkable sense of color and form.