“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their colour.” –Maya Angelou
Unity in diversity is used as an expression of harmony and unity between dissimilar individuals or groups. It is a concept of unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation that shifts the focus from unity based on mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological and psychological differences towards a more complex unity based on an understanding that differences enrich our human interactions creating diverse but united communities.
In January I had the pleasure of leading some local youth through my art exhibit “Unity in Diversity” at the Alberta Lottery Fund Art Gallery which is located inside the Shell Theater in Fort Saskatchewan. Each group participated in an Art Talk and then an art project where they got to create their own interpretations of the theme.
I lead a local group of homeschoolers through on January 18th and then on January 25th the Fort Saskatchewan Girl Guides came out for an evening of art.
Both groups were a great bunch of kids who had loads of questions and enthusiasm.
I walked them through my creative process and about what it meant to be united in diversity and how we can pair those two seemingly opposite qualities together. We discussed how families are one example of what this looks like. A family may have people with different views, interests, or preferences who show diversity in many aspects, but they demonstrate a sense of unity among them as a family and how this can be applied in a broader sense to community.
We talked about how this theme was reflected in the art how each piece though different and unique fitted within the body of work on exhibit. Finally we talked about how sometimes it’s easier to see the differences that divide us than the things that unite us; but that we can train our eyes and our hearts to extend grace and compassion to those around us and in so doing we as individuals can impact our world and help to create a more vibrant beautiful community around us.
Once we were done in the gallery we headed back to one of the rooms to create out art project.
All in all it was a great opportunity to share art, creativity and community with some fabulous youth.