I Will Be a Hummingbird © Lisa A Arthaud

I Will Be a Hummingbird: Wangari Maathai

Lisa A. Arthaud

Warrenton, Virginia, USA

Artist Statement

It is no small thing to change the world…or is it?

Upon returning home to her rural homeland near Kenya, Africa, Wangari Maathai was devastated to see the pain of her people; the deforestation of her homeland.

So, she planted trees. She empowered women to plant trees. She strengthened a community to rise up in a social cause. She founded the Green Belt Movement, becoming an environmental champion at an international level.

As she shared her story about a small, determined hummingbird fiercely putting out a fire with one drop of water at a time, she identified her own life path. She too, channeled her strong willed commitment to change the world – one tree at a time; one empowered woman at a time; one devoted community at a time.

When determining who I would celebrate for HERstory, Wangari’s story spoke volumes to me. I reviewed photos of her receiving the Nobel Peace Prize as the first environmentalist and first African Woman. I witnessed strength, joy and determination through those photos. I feel privileged to promote her life story – her life work – through my own heart to hands connection of quilt art.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

In 2004, Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, became the first African Woman and first environmentalist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.


Machine Pieced. Machine applique/Hand Applique. Painted with Paintstix. Foil. Meshed embroidery pieces. Machine quilted.


Cotton, silk. Steam A Seam 2 lite.

Photo courtesy Greg Arthaud