Art is the most effective form of rebellion.

~ The Power of Art, Simon Schama

Art has the power to move us; to evoke and transform emotions that words often cannot. Art has the power to change narratives, to give a voice to the voiceless, to break rules and find unorthodox ways of approaching some of the seemingly insurmountable issues of our time. The Global Diversity Foundation’s Arts and Ecology Programme creates a space for dialogue, reflection and artistic exploration into the intersections of environmental conservation, our human relationship to land, ecologies, myth, food and farming, water, colonialism and social and environmental justice. 

Through our programme, artists, researchers, academics, ecologists, and conservationists collaborate to explore and communicate environmental issues through the visual arts, music, poetry, theater, literature, artist residencies, public discussion events and other immersive experiences. 

We are excited to host some activities for the Arts and Ecology Programme at the International Society of Ethnobiology’s 18th Congress, in collaboration with our Harvest Festival May 2024 Edition. This includes participatory, immersive artwork and a series of panel discussions, including the Green Rope Project from artist William Bock, who uses the act of crafting a Sugán rope (an Irish straw rope) to bring people together. William is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring relationships between people and the environments they inhabit. 

We are currently in the process of designing artist residencies and In Conversation events around the theme of Intangible Cultural Heritage Peacebuilding (June 2024) and the role of the arts and activism in defending land rights and seed sovereignty.


Our first GDF Artist’s Residency – write up from Louisa Aarrass

Yara is a farmer, activist and a researcher from Jerusalem working within the framework of the Ch[a]rita / السِّيس __ Mirages of resistance programme. Ch[a]rita invites artists in dialogue with the action-research carried out by QANAT collective (based out of @le18marrakech gallery and cultural space) and Ateliers Collectifs of the Dar Bellarj Foundation. 

Part of the fellowship residency program was to spend a month in Morocco to develop her research around water and farming in dry land areas using heirloom and local seeds that are drought resistant. These seeds depend on the rain or the moisture in the soil at the end of the winter season. Yara aimed to learn from Moroccan agricultural techniques used by farmers and the challenges they are facing with water shortages, rain patterns during the rainy season and how that affects their practices and yields. 

Yara’s residency culminated with a presentation of 𝕌𝕟𝕤𝕖𝕖𝕟 𝕤𝕡𝕣𝕚𝕟𝕘 عين ما بتنشاف: 𝕓𝕖𝕥𝕨𝕖𝕖𝕟 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕥𝕪, 𝕗𝕚𝕔𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕕𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕞𝕤. Unseen spring is a lecture performance developed during Yara’s time in Morocco, offering to uncover forgotten stories and practices of fetching and storing water, ways to discover underground water, and how rainfed agriculture, as well as inherited agricultural knowledge and seeds can offer solutions to food sovereignty in dry lands. Water is the first element that communities looked for when settling down to make a territory their home. Yet, Bil’in, where the Om Sleiman community farm is located in the Area C of occupied and fractured Palestine, is quite literally ‘a village without a source’. 

This edition of Ch[a]rita / السِّيس was curated by Francesca Masoero & Rim Mejdi with the assistantship of Sarah Mounia Kachiri and made possible thanks to the support of the Fondation Susanna Biedermann, and through the generous contribution of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Rabat and GDF. 

See more here.