Solar Sister Exhibition: Showcase of Quilts

by Allison Wilbur on June 4, 2013

Those of you following us on facebook and Twitter know by now that the date has been set for the opening of our newest challenge exhibit, Solar Sister: Empowering Women through Clean Energy.”  “Solar Sister” will go on display at the United Nation’s European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the Palais des Nations, starting Thursday, June 27, and running through most of July. (If you’re going to be in Geneva at that time and would like to attend the opening on the evening of June 27, please let us know).

Solar Sister highlights the terrific work of Rhode Island-based non-profit Solar Sister, which started out working in Uganda and now is in five other countries in Africa (Rwanda, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria).  Solar Sister provides the funding and a business-in-a-box model to outfit Solar Sister Entrepreneurs to sell solar-based products in their communities.  Solar Sisters re-pay their micro-loans and re-stock their inventories using the proceeds of sales to their friends and neighbors, and Solar Sister reinvests the original funds (obtained through donations and grants from individuals, companies and foundations) in new Entrepreneurs in order to grow a network of empowered small businesswomen.  The products sold are all solar-based and designed to provide light and power to improve daily life and productivity.  Using Solar Sister products, a family can now cook meals in a more efficient and cleaner way, cutting down on indoor air pollution and associated health problems; children can study at night and achieve more at school; mothers can limit the time they spend away from home seeking firewood or walking to a facility with electricity so that they can work; and families can be in phone contact with neighbors, family and the outside world.

As with our other exhibits to date, Solar Sister attracted incredibly talented and committed quilt artists.  This show included 22 quilts from 20 quilters living in the U.S., Canada, and England. This was a juried show, and each of the jurors have submitted quilts for exhibition.  Over the next few weeks we will share in this blog photos and artist statements of the quilts and quilters included in Solar Sister.  I am sure you will agree that their creativity, passion and talent provide a moving depiction of the challenges faced by communities living in energy poverty and some of the solutions being pursued by resilient, practical and capable women from these communities.  The quilts and artist statements are moving and worthy of such an important issue and effort.

We’ll provide updates on the Solar Sister Exhibit’s future US venues and on the Women, Peace and Security Exhibit, which is now traveling with Mancuso quilt festivals, as we go forward.  Thanks very much for your interest, comments and support.  Don’t forget to “Like” us on facebook and “follow” us on Twitter!


Dick Wilbur

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