The Fabric of Our Being

Friday, November 4th, 2021, marks the date of the unveiling of author, poet and entrepreneur, Nadine Williams’ multi-piece art installation project “The Fabric of Our Being.”

The 13th installment of the 1,000-part goal was presented to its now current home of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Newmarket, Ontario. Students, teachers, and supporters gathered to admire the artwork and listen to Nadine read her poetry, such as “The Immigrant Child,” and the poem connected to the concept of the project, “The Fabric of Our Being.”

The project’s inspiration began after a meeting Nadine had with a member of RBC several years ago, and the topic of Canada 150 was brought up during the conversation. The Canadian celebration and Nadine’s own experiences inspired the poem for “The Fabric of Our Being,” which then grew into what it is today. Since the start of the project, many artists and youths have been inspired to create their own “Fabric of Our Being” and share the stories of their own cultures.

Nadine’s work reflects the beauty of Canada, Africa, and cultural identity with inspiration coming from her humble upbringing and experiences while moving here from St. Mary Parish, Jamaica. She chose quilt making for this project due to its historical significance of being used by many cultures to tell hidden stories through imagery and stitching. When making the quilts Michel Boisvert and Carole Brisebois from In Stitches help Nadine’s concepts come to life with attention and care.

Bold colours, grand monuments and vast lands, all woven together through cloth and thread, welcome onlookers to take a moment and educate themselves as a part of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024.) This decade is dedicated to acknowledging and educating on slavery and suppression while highlighting empowerment and the contributions of people of African descent.

Our own Jim VanDusen and Nadine sat down recently and discussed this incredible project and its concept. After hearing Nadine’s story and her passion for creativity, justice, and education, Jim did not hesitate to offer his support and sponsorship. Acknowledgment of efforts and hardships while promoting acceptance and diversity is something VanDusen’s always encourages wholeheartedly:

“Continue the race even if you can’t sprint the marathon,” says Williams during a recent discussion with us about her work, “Along the way, people will give you drinks of water, and that water is pure encouragement.”

The quilts are a physical representation of the theme of the IDPAD: recognition, justice and development. They are aimed to be installed in places of historical significance and high traffic areas. Union Station, for example, is included in one of those locations where a quilt currently hangs and is exposed to thousands of commuters and travelers daily. After collaboration with a student from the Edmonton School Board another quilt was hung up and displayed in the Edmonton International Airport. This particular installation aided in William’s goal of spreading the project’s message locally, regionally, and internationally.

Nadine continues to speak up and form a trail of information and recognition that will ultimately lead back to the UN. Soon, an installment will be finalized and available to view in Durham Region with the further help of Jim’s sponsorship and support. Along that journey Nadine, and everyone else involved in “The Fabric of Our Being,” is eager to see the quilts continuing to educate the masses.

During the conclusion of a discussion regarding this movement, we asked Nadine a simple question and received a truly inspiring answer.

“What advice would you give your younger self if given the chance?”

Passionately, she responded with, “Keep reading. This love for reading will turn into something amazing, and your growing curiosity will yield beautiful fruit. With writing, your tears turn to ink and have the potential to saturate the world.”