The Lotus Education & Arts Foundation officially launches its year-long 2016 initiative, “One Million Stars to End Violence: Lotus International Star-Weaving Project” on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2016.

Weave a star at the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, and meet the project’s founder!  Details here.

Visit our Events Calendar for dates & details on upcoming star-weaving workshops and exhibitions after the Festival.

Lotus is one of only three U.S. partners with the Australia-based project “One Million Stars to End Violence,” an international effort inspired by a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”  Alongside participating #StarWeaveCommunities around the world, Lotus has committed to weaving and contributing at least 10,000 eight-pointed stars made from ribbon and recycled materials, in support of the larger international goal to create and display 1,000,000 stars.

The project kicked off with a community star-weaving workshop on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 18, 2016), hosted at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures and supported by funding from the City of Bloomington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

Over the coming year, Lotus will bring together Bloomington and the wider region in support of this effort, leading star-weaving workshops throughout the local area and inviting a broad range of community partners to get involved with their own “weave jams.” Stars woven by our community will be featured in an installation at the 23rd Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, at an exhibit at Bloomington City Hall in December, and then as part of a worldwide installation of 1,000,000 stars in 2018 at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

The “One Million Stars” project originated as a response to a widely decried violent crime in Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia that happened around the corner from the founding artist’s studio.  In the aftermath of the tragedy, project founder and textile artist Maryann Talia Pau found resonance between Dr. King, Jr.’s statement and the importance of stars and weaving in her own Pacific Island heritage. Weaving traditions are strong throughout South Pacific culture, especially with the indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait and Samoa. Additionally, symbolism stems from “Matariki”, a Maori word referring to the Pleiades star cluster. Like many South Pacific islanders, the Maori relied on stars to navigate across the sea between interconnected islands. This navigation can reference our own human journey, spanning cultures around the world and exercising our “strength to love” over violence.

“These beautiful stars are symbols of light, courage and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying, and racism,” says Pau. “Every woven star reminds us that we have to MAKE peace and safe spaces and that it doesn’t just happen. Every star is a commitment to resist violence and revenge, to believe in forgiveness and healing.”

This project is supported in part by the City of Bloomington Arts Commission’s Arts Project Grant Program.City of Bloomington Arts Commisions Logo

(Photo by Garrett Poortinga, Green Hat Media, 2015)