MIDDLE EAST PEACE QUILT on view at the Winchevsky Centre (585 Cranbrooke) until December 16, Sundays from 1 to 4 pm and by appointment. 416-789-5502. Rating: NNN
More than 300 artists, schoolchildren, peaceniks and others from across North America and Europe who yearn for an end to the war between Israelis and Arabs have contributed squares to the Middle East Peace Quilt conceived by Vancouver-based textile artist Sima Elizabeth Shefrin in 1998. When Toronto's Winchevsky Centre first got the call for submissions, the staff were quick to respond with an offer to host the grassroots peace initiative if it ever toured to Toronto. So this ambitious and very moving project -- sponsored by more than a dozen local, mostly Jewish and Arab social organizations -- currently can be seen in the folksy North York community centre.
Although the Peace Quilt takes its cues from projects like the massive AIDS quilt that has been spread out over most of DC's ceremonial Mall, its scale iremains intimate. The squares -- which have been crafted in every medium from traditional quilting through fabric paint, photo transfers, embroidery, glued collages and even magazine photos sewn onto a cotton backing -- are shown in groups of nine. The baby-blanket size delivers the message that peace begins at home.
The Peace Quilt is still growing, and the Winchevsky Centre is soliciting more panels. Call for details.