Arsal hosts “One Square Meter” Workshop
The One Square Meter is a needle-felt sculpture which creatively demonstrates, in tangible form, the link between mobile pastoralism and biodiversity. It is comprised of a knitted carpet (base) into which 20 – 30 different species of sculpted felt plants are woven – a visual representation of the fact that in One Square Meter of land where Mobile Pastoralism occurs in some rangelands, you can find up to 40 different species of plants. This is similar to rainforest diversity!
This initiative was funded by MAVA Foundation to the Mediterranean Consortium that was initiated by 5 environment NGOs including SPNL from the Mediterranean basin and DiversEarth.
The One Square Meter is a celebration of mobile pastoralism and the people who maintain it, which is highly beneficial to nature and the climate, animals, human beings, societies and rural economies.
The creation process enables women wool-workers from different communities to exchange knowledge and learn from one another, and the final piece helps pastoral communities develop funds and support the livelihoods, particularly of women. The aim of this project is to build capacity through exchanges and friendships between women woolworkers of different pastoral communities around the world.
Mrs. Almudena Sanchez from Spain joined Mrs. Halima Hojeiry from Arsal, Lebanon, from July 3 till July 5 2019, accompanied by Mrs. Liza Zogib, DiversEarth, and Mr. Amer Saidi, SPNL, for the Initiation of the One Square Meter- Lebanon. The workshop took place at the Cooperation for Rural « Mouneh » in Arsal (تعاونية المونه الريفيه عرسال), facilitated by Mrs. Almudena Sanchez who carried with her the knowledge on the One Square Meter to share with the women in Arsal. The workshop was attended by 15 women from the regionl who had the traditional knowledge and passion to carpet weaving and woolwork.
The ladies have exchanged their khowledge on woolwork, starting from wool carding to natural dying processes and, of course, the inititation of the One Square Meter. Prior to the workshop, a list of 20 plant species, rangeland plants from Lebanon, was prepared. The ladies have adopted the plant list to weave similar plant species on the One Square Meter final Product.
Each One Square Meter is a ‘final product’ in itself and can be shown, along with supporting materials developed in collaboration with DiversEarth (photography, illustration, film, etc.) in local or national events that further the cause of community members.
By 2020, the final product will include at least 9 One Square Meters from around the world plus supporting materials. such as photography, illustration, film, etc… prepared by DiversEarth, exhibited in local or national events (e.g. Communities, Conservation and Livelihoods Conference, Halifax 2018 and World Conservation Congress, 2020). These events will create increasingly bigger art installations and supporting materials that are specially crafted for the audience.
At the end of the exhibitions (currently foreseen for 2020, but will be decided in due course), the artwork will be auctioned at a fundraising event – the funds from which will be channelled back into the communities to be used as a fund to support local women and their economies and/or conservation action.