1 Million Stars to End Violence

BDMLate last year I attended The Big Design Market in Melbourne, where many independent artists gather together to share and sell their creative works. I went hoping to find some creative inspiration and boy did it hit me right in the face! As I was moseying around the stores, something above caught my eye, I looked up to find what only can be described as the most beautiful awe inspiring installation of stars, hanging like a chandelier from the ceiling of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. I was so captivated by the beauty of it, I couldn’t help but just stand and marvel at it’s magnificence. Whilst contemplating how in the world one could create such an intricate masterpiece. The mass of stars indicated that this art piece had been an incredibly time consuming job, requiring many helping hands. Being a Visual Merchandiser, naturally I wanted to know the story and the processes behind the whole installation so I set out to hunt down the creative genius behind this installation. Her name was Maryann Talia Pau, and what an remarkable story she had to tell.

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Maryann is a weaver. She says weaving is what she was born to do. And I couldn’t agree more. This project, the ‘1 Million Stars to End Violence’ came into being as a result of the Jill Meagher murder. A woman who was raped and killed one night in the streets of Brunswick, Melbourne. Her death impacted many Australians and Maryanne was at the receiving end of many peoples letters and tributes where she worked as a volunteer at the local Brunswick Baptist Church. Amongst the many condolences, a quote from Martin Luther King Jr made it’s way into Maryanne’s hands.

It read; “Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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This quote had such an impact on Maryann that she responded in the only way she new how. She starting weaving stars out of ribbon as a stand against violence. And before she knew it, everyone wanted to help weave these stars as a symbol of their support. The overwhelming support resulted in Maryanne running star weaving workshops in her local shop on Brunswick street. In these workshops she taught people how to make 8-pointed stars out of ribbon. It was then and there that she made it her goal to make 1 Million Stars worldwide by 2018 to help put an end violence. With the Big Design Market being her first installation of 11,000 stars.

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Upon hearing Maryann’s story, it completely blew me away that from that one little act of weaving stars birthed what has now set it’s self up to become a worldwide project. To think that such a simple idea could bring an entire community together in unity, let alone nations of the world. This was such an eye opening encouragement to me that all it can take is one small but great idea to impact a multitude. Maryann’s story has influenced me to pay more attention and take more time with the small ideas rather than just overlooking them. It has also inspired me to take action on the small ideas because you never know where they could lead you. In saying this, I am now collaborating with Maryann and bringing my very own spin to the ‘1 Million Stars to End Violence’ project, in a retail environment.

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This venture came about of my own initiative and is a collaboration with Myer and the cause 1 Million Stars to End Violence. This campaign is about raising awareness of violence against women in particular, in the lead up to International Women’s Day 2015. Myer Melbourne will be holding star weaving workshops, 5 days a week, from January 15th – February 21st. Where people are encouraged to come and make stars out of ribbon. These stars are symbolic of one’s support and declaration to choose to live in love and peace over violence. The stars made will then be used in a Myer Melbourne window installation for International Women’s Day. There will also be other installations that pop up around the Myer Melbourne in various locations in the lead up to the final window reveal on the 23rd of February, 2015.

Over the past 5 months I have been working on the art direction for this collaboration and project coordinating all that needs to happen behind the scenes. Which has no doubt had it’s challenging moments, but has been a rewarding experience never the less. I have put my heart and soul into making this collaborative project happen and I hope that it will make a difference and an impact in the hearts of those who engage with this cause. In turn creating a greater awareness of this prevalent issue in our city, and beyond.

I am proud to say that the project is set to launch this week! So please come on down, make a star and spread the word! Together we can be superstars and make a difference!

For more information visit: www.myer.com.au/onemillionstars or onemillionstars.net