The UWC-USA class of ‘25 began the new school year with a quilting project that reflects on the relationship between individuality and the collective. Two years ago, Kate Ribeiro started this project for the very first time with her Language and Literature class of 33 students. The goal of this assignment was to introduce students to the concept of authorial intent and exercise their higher order of thinking by analyzing an artistic work. The 2021 quilt was gifted to UWC Movement benefactor, Shelby Davis, for his 85th birthday.
This year, Ribeiro expanded the project to include all 114 first-year students. With creative liberty and a diverse selection of materials, the students explored the intersections and uniqueness of their identities. The quilt mirrors the character of every student through the different fabrics, colors, patterns, and compositions. With the skillful help of Ribeiro and the talented Sewing/Repair CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) Group, the students were able to visually express a wide range of connections to their cultures, families, memories, and experiences.
The students can easily identify one another from the abstract puzzle piece shapes that make up their postures, hairstyles, smiles, and accessories. Without relying on race or ethnicity to identify an individual, the work of art teaches its spectators to observe in different ways.
“The cultures, countries, and backgrounds do not separate this class,” one student said of the project. “On the other hand, the values and principles unite it. Through this quilt, we see that, even with all the gaps that separate us, we are united diversely and incredibly, we are a community, we are a family, we are UWC-USA.”