A COMMON THREAD

By Sudnya Shroff

Location: Linden Grove

(Back to Art on the Grounds)

Sudnya Shroff is a local artist and fashion designer based in Los Altos, California. She has been invited to create a participatory installation in Montalvo’s gardens which will represent her commitment to the global refugee community. Visitors to the park will be invited to add to Shroff's lace-like environment comprised of hundreds of crocheted flowers created in collaboration with the refugee community in Greece. The flower has come to symbolize for the artist “...the tenacity of the refugee-activist collective that resists the darkness of fear, while embracing the beauty of hope.” 

Artist Statement:

We have so much more in common than not. All of us part of a single race, the human race, varied in our approach to life, much wisdom to be shared, yet discriminated across superficial differences based in fear. Chasms created across cultures instead of bridges. Spaces in all the wrong places. 


In providing skeins of multicolored yarn and needles to my talented multifaceted refugee sisters — who otherwise spend their time counting long torturous days in flimsy crowded tents, at the mercy of inclement weather and fellow humans in power — my hope is to help them create space where they have none, in their minds, crocheting their meditative states into beautiful flowers as they not just cope with their trying situation but also reclaim their intrinsic power.  

My choice to use the colors from the rainbow as a macro representation of their delicate, detailed and breathtaking meditative stories comes from my displaced sisters themselves. When it was time to pick yarn, it became impossible to choose a single color. The delight at picking a range of vibrant hues was for us a rainbow on that rainy day.  

That a rainbow appears indiscriminately around the planet, is universally considered beautiful, and shares mostly positive connotations across diverse cultures gave us a new all-embracing  language in color. 


Women not only share a burning drive to nurture against all odds, we do that while being vulnerable and afraid yet resilient and hopeful. A common thread across all conversations was also an unwavering faith in something larger than us, something that added qualitatively to beauty in every breath.  In how we birthed, raised, groomed, cooked, fed, sewed, prayed, arranged and tended to our loved ones, a complete presence to beauty was not just desired but intrinsically needed for survival.  


Each flower in this installation personifies this coexistence of unguarded fragility, impregnable tenacity, meticulous detail and awe-inspiring beauty.  
A beauty that unites and brings us closer. 
A closeness that allows us to see more, see clearly. 
A clarity that creates space inside us to receive, to feel awe, to wonder. 
At how much our race is like a ray of sunlight which on passing through welcoming raindrops gives us a rainbow.