Artist Statement: The Women’s Advocacy Network (WAN) is an association of women working for a better future after a long war in northern Uganda. We were abducted as schoolgirls by the Lord’s Resistance Army, (LRA) who fought the Government of Uganda between 1987-2008 and forced us into so-called marriages with rebel commanders with whom we bore children. On return, we organized ourselves to support each other, share our stories, and encourage each other. We tell our stories so that our children will know what we went through, and so that they will tell their children
Sewing this bead piece was difficult work. It took a lot of dedication, hard work, technique and concentration and brought out strong feelings and emotions. To make the paper beads, we cut a long strip of paper, roll it tightly into different bead shapes, sizes and colours. We wash, varnish and dry them. Then we worked collectively using thread and needle to sew each bead by hand onto the black fabric. These are people who represent us as survivors and our children as we carried children on our backs as we moved to avoid harm. The bead project is part of the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada Partnership Development Grant to the Transformative Memory International Network (TMIN). WAN has collaborated to tell our stories for more than a decade with TMIN members Erin Baines (University of British Columbia) and Juliane Okot Bitek (Queen’s University) through life history books, publications, poetry and art.