Our Quilt

This is the result of our collective artistic vision comprised of our individual panels – the TOMODACHI story quilt we made at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, guided by Artistic Director Tia Harris.

“My panel depicts a volleyball, a sport several of us play. The flames are the ideas and friendships that have sparked from this program. The flames are all different colors to show our differences but similarities. Lastly, in each flame is a word that describes us.”

IMG_0968I.Y.: “Panda has BLACK & WHITE element in 1 body. I felt it is like U.S that has lots of diversities. I also drew an infinity symbol (∞) which includes the word “JPN, U.S and future”. This summer program is just a start, our relation, friendship will never end.”

IMG_0970H.I.: “There are three parts to my symbol. First is the iceberg the penguin is on. On our first day, we had a discussion that cultures are like icebergs. There are so many things under the surface, which we cannot understand just by sightseeing. The second part is the penguin. When we visited “Words, Beats and Life”, I learned that if there is a black side and a white side, we can always carve out the gray zone, which expanded my range of perspectives to issues. I chose a penguin since it is black and white and lives on ice. The third part are the connected dots on the sides. Each dots represent the 12 of us and the idea that connecting ideas can lead to a larger idea.”

IMG_0971H.O.: “I first draw Japanese letter “友, which means “friendship”. I draw ship in the panel. This has two meanings:

  • Between US and Japan, we have the Pacific Ocean and in ancient days we used ships to visit each other.
  • It had “ship” letters in friendship.

I also draw Japan and the US on a diagonal. This means the long distance between the two countries. To show our “friendship” bonds, I draw two people shaking hands. The red one means Japanese (we use red in our national flag) and the blue one means American (the US flag uses blue).”

IMG_0966Delmar: “My panel symbolizes how interconnected our two cultures are, as well as the bonds that we’ve formed together.  Surrounding the picture there are intersecting lines that are meant to look like something woven together.  In the square itself we have the names of the two countries intersecting like a crossword puzzle.  We also have parts of the two flags overlapping slightly. Lastly we have the rising sun, as we hope to bring a new day, or new inspiration, to our generation.”

IMG_0967C.T.: “As you can see, I drew a rainbow on my panel. This rainbow is a symbol of many things, but I picked four things out of them: diversity, Africa, friendship, and sexual minorities (LGBT). A rainbow has many colors, which can be symbolized as diversity. African colors (Pan-African Colors) are consisted of green, yellow and red. A rainbow contains those colors. All those colors are beautifully integrated, so I used a rainbow as a symbol of friendship. Also, a rainbow is a general symbol of sexual minorities. I chose these four things, praying for a better society.”

IMG_0963Joel: “The reason I chose the sword was because I feel as if my life is like a blade being tempered many time to reach its point of a perfect ion. I also chose the sword because I think of the sword as a supreme weapon. With my symbol I wrote “TOMODACHI” above in blue because I wanted to show that I had a lot of faith in our long friendship with the students in Japan.”

IMG_0969A.T.: “I drew the sunflowers because I felt that they describe us, the 12 students, well. The letters/words around it both describe the sunflower and us.”


S.K.: “The tracks of the comet represent the increasing population of the world. The star represents an idea. This is my image of the future.”

IMG_0964Jatalia: “My square represents how two people can come together to form one whole.”

IMG_0973 Tenaj: “I drew the ∞ sign because friendships last forever. No matter how far our friendships will last a life time.”

IMG_0972Atiya: “My quilt piece depicts half of the Japanese flag and half of the American flag. Bordering the flag combination is my favorite quote written twice: ‘Love…a word that comes and goes.’ In the top right hand corner are the colors of the African flag, because of my African heritage.”

Quilt Panel