Strasbourg, Monday, 23 January 2023
I would like to start by thanking the Committee on Equality and Non-discrimination and its 1st vice-Chair, Ms Béatrice Fresko-Rolfo, for inviting me to speak, and for organising the presentation of "The Red Dress" project at our Palais.
I would also like to express my gratitude and admiration to the artist who is present with us today, Ms Kirstie Macleod, for creating and coordinating this remarkable project.
Few things bring people together more beautifully than art. Whether it's music, sculpture, paint or fabric, the arts are a way for us to express ourselves, our cultures and our shared humanity.
But rarely do we witness one singular piece of art truly encapsulating the creativity of women around the world. The project presented today, unlike any other, explores identity, culture and tradition through embroidery.
"The Red Dress", a project lasting 13 years, has counted on the support and collaboration of 372 embroiderers from around 50 countries, who with their skills have contributed to creating a unique masterpiece. Using needle and thread, the Red Dress connects disparate communities and highlights the common ground between individuals, uniting and bringing together different identities.
As well as being a powerful statement of unity and of merging cultural dialogues and identities, the Red Dress has become a platform for women's voices to be heard, many of whom belong to vulnerable communities, are refugees or live in poverty.
This project represents the individual stories of each person involved, their unique experience and journey, with every challenge woven into the dress’s history. However, the garment also reflects the fire of hope, an emblem of unity and equality, showing us all what can be achieved when individuals join together.
At this time, this message seems so relevant. By working together as a community and collaborating with each other, we will be able to break down boundaries and borders, and hopefully create a better world.
Thank you all for coming here today, and I hope you will enjoy the exhibition.