Giant Sunflower Quilt For Bombed Buildings, Muddy Cemeteries Of Ukraine

Like the famous artist Christo, who wrapped some of the world’s most iconic monuments in silk, an Australian artist aims to wrap Ukraine’s bombed-out buildings and muddy cemeteries in the dust.

But not just any fabric. It will be a sunflower patch quilt.

“It’s like a huge hug for Ukraine, especially for the kids,” artist Janno McLaughlin said as she sat in her World War II military depot at Scone in the NSW Hunter Valley.

McLaughlin, who spent some time teaching in Ukraine, said her heart broke when news of the Russian invasion reverberated around the world nearly three months ago.

“Because I had that little connection with those Ukrainian kids I was working with, my thoughts went straight to them — how are you, where are they, are they okay, are they still alive?”

But to turn something so horrific into a bright burst of hope, she’s now on the hunt for about 1,000 quilt patches to form a massive art installation.

“I want to get it as big as possible,” McLaughlin said.

“The more patches we can get, the better.

She said a creation occupying “an acre block” would send a message.

“They need to feel like the outside world is watching them and they’re not alone,” she said.

She said that the national flower of Ukraine, the sunflower, was her inspiration.

“There’s something about finding a symbol that the people of Ukraine can associate with,” McLaughlin said.

Scone artist Janno McLaughin has hosted hundreds of squares from around the globe. (ABC Upper Hunter: Bridget Murphy)

She said the quilt patches also symbolized hope and new growth.

“I foresee that the quilt will be at least 100 by 100 yards where people can stand and hold at an art event,” McLaughlin said.

“I’d like to drape it from one of those burnt-out buildings, the bombed-out train stations, or one of those horrible mass graves.”

Worldwide artwork in the making

Fueled by tea and scones, the local Country Women’s Association is also on board.


Scone and district president Lyn Tout said the association was focused on helping people provide comfort and support.

“People’s well-being is so important,” she says.

“If we can send a few little messages of support and love and embrace Ukraine, that’s what the project is all about.”

Ms. Tout gathered more enthusiastic quilters at the recent NSW CWA conference, where the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary.

The establishment of the Scone Country Women’s Association helped with sewing. (ABC Upper Hunter: Bridget Murphy)

She said patches were coming from all over the world.

“I’m waiting for some from South Africa; we’ve had some from Massachusetts, New York, England, church groups, artists everywhere, New Zealand, and all over Australia,” said Ms. Tout.

‘They’re going to win this.’

Iryna Pyrtko-Morozis, the founder of the Cultural Development and Charity Fund, Sincere Education, is on the other side of the world.

She lives in London but has family in Ukraine.

She met McLaughlin last year.

“She impresses every day. She talks about Ukraine every day. She unites people daily in support of Ukraine,” said Ms. Pyrtko-Morozis.

“We can’t all go and fight in Ukraine, not even volunteer, but we can all do our part, and that’s what brings us closer as people and closer to the victory of justice, truth, and independence.”

Artist Janno McLaughlin has high hopes for the huge sunflower quilt. (ABC Upper Hunter: Bridget Murphy)

McLaughlin said it was difficult for adults to understand what was happening in Ukraine fully, but even harder for young minds.

“The way they described it at Scone and District Kindergarten was that people in Ukraine were sad and wanted to do something that would make them happy, so that’s how they explained it to the little ones there,” she said.

“The Ukrainians believe they are going to win this.

“It’s not a war they’ve asked for. They protect their homeland and their right to freedom.

“When all this horror is over, I can see” [the quilt] be laid down … people come together. Maybe we’ll cry, sing… but we’re moving forward.”

Children also contributed messages of hope. (ABC Upper Hunter: Bridget Murphy)

How will it all come together?

McLaughlin and her team assemble the patches in sections to make traveling easier.

She hopes to get into the war-torn country by August 24, Independence Day.

“The main goal is to make it first and then somehow come to Ukraine,” she said.

“If the worst gets out of hand, I get on the plane and take it to London to… [Iryna]†

She said what started as a small gesture had grown beyond expectations.

“Art is really powerful… you don’t have to speak a language, but you can be touched by it,” she said.

“And when you’re making the patches, something is going on, while you’re watching the news… It gives the creator a sense of purpose of empathy; it feels like you’re doing something.

“Just trying to hold it together in the face of something shocking.”

McLaughlin hopes to have the quilt ready in Ukraine by Independence Day in August. (ABC Upper Hunter: Bridget Murphy)

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Posted 25 minutes ago25 minutes ago Tue May 17, 2022, at 12:52 am, updated 15 minutes ago15 minutes ago Tue May 17, 2022, at 1:02 am

Dorothy R. Barrett

I’m a full-time blogger by passion. This is my first blog, and I'm excited to share everything that I love about technology, business, and lifestyle with you. I’m a writer by trade, and I can be found writing about tech, business, and lifestyle on my personal blog.

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