A giant handmade glass mosaic scarf was unveiled on Saturday, by Tasmanian artists as part of an international project to support Afghan women and girls.
The 'Hanging by a Thread' project is backed by the UN International Year of Glass (UNIYOG22) and involves over 1200 mosaic artists from 46 other countries, each making segments of a larger glass mosaic.
"Ultimately, this international collective work will represent the resilience of Afghan culture beyond its own borders," says Kristin Wohlers, mosaic artist from Angaston, and one of the Australian coordinators.
"Afghan culture survives to remind us that our own freedom is also hanging by a thread,"
Afghanistan is a diverse country with 34 provinces and over fourteen ethnic groups who each have their own traditional outfits.
Traditional dresses are beautiful and colourful and feature intricate patterns, rich colours, gold embroidery.
The Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand (MAANZ) have teamed up with the international collaborators to bring the project to life in Tasmania. There will be seven scarves weaving through six Australian states and New Zealand in 2022 and 2023 culminating in an exhibition in Canberra.
Following the launch, the artwork will be displayed on the ground floor of Launceston City Library and will feature in the Tamar Valley Peace Festival program.
The artwork was unveiled by the Mayor and Mayoress van Zetten and Yvette Hallam, Tasmanian representative for the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand. Ms Hallam said that she first advertised the project on social media.
"Earlier this year I mentioned this project on my Facebook page and asked people if they would like to be involved and I have been overwhelmed by the response," she said.
"I have people come up from Hobart to attend my workshops, people come down from George Town and Beauty Point. We have all had so much fun in these workshops, talking and laughing and sharing stories."
The Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand said that since August 2021, when the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, Afghan women and girls were once again faced with the Taliban interpretation of Islamic law. Consequently, they face many forms of violence, including physical violence and are deprived of education, work and their human dignity "hangs by a thread".
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Testifying to a radical cultural backward movement, art, poetry, music, and colourful clothing have been banned since the return of the Taliban. The project has 1200 participants worldwide, of which 385 are from Australia and New Zealand.
Once all scarves from Australia and New Zealand are joined the artwork Mosaic for Afghan Women - Hanging by a Thread will be 19 metres long.
The mosaic will be on display at an exhibition at the Launceston Library, from September 12, incorporating the Tamar Valley Peace Festival and International Day of Peace on September 21.
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