Demonstrates the power of art in the service of healing
Healing from Genocide in Rwanda demonstrates the power of art in the service of healing, and is a testimony to responsive community process in a highly sensitive environment. The work immerses readers in the stories of two Rwandans who as small children experienced the 1994 Genocide. It tells of the horrific tragedy each survived, the courage necessary for surviving, and the humanity they embody. Their stories are framed by two chapters chronicling the transformation, in the Rugerero Survivors' Village, of a concrete burial slab into a powerful Genocide Memorial with its bone chamber, designed by artist Lily Yeh and built by the villagers.
The book is not limited to the literature of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, but belongs to the world as part of the collective human experience. It evokes its world through images (photographs, drawings, paintings, pattern, and color) as well as words. The text itself is visually choreographed.
The work draws from Lily Yeh's multifaceted Rwandan Healing Project under the auspices of Barefoot Artists, a project that included, among other things, drawing and storytelling workshops. Susan Viguers conceived and designed the book, incorporating drawings and paintings by Lily Yeh.
Susan Viguers has taught literature, directed the University Writing Program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and published scholarly articles, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Her discovery of printmaking and book structure took her from the Liberal Arts Division to the university's College of Art and Design. For nine years she directed the university's MFA Book Arts/Printmaking program. Her artist books are part of special collections of more than 50 public institutions. Lily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist known for founding the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia, a national model in creative placemaking and participatory community building through the arts. In 2002, Yeh founded Barefoot Artists, to bring transformative artmaking to impoverished communities in multiple countries (including Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Rwanda, China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Syria, Republic of Georgia, Haiti, Germany, Palestine, and the United States. Lily is the author of Awakening Creativity.