Sayohati Sabz (Green Journey) is an art project that transcends geographical boundaries, taking remote communities and local and international art activists on a journey together to explore the shared vulnerability of humanity to climate change, and the need to build shared cross-border resilience.
Tajikistan is a mountainous country in Central Asia and home to some of the most enchanting and untarnished natural landscapes on the planet. It is also one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of climate change, where landslides and extreme weather have devastating visible consequences for the mostly rural and impoverished population in remote mountainous villages. 70% of the population are living in rural areas and depend on small-scale agriculture for sustenance. Likewise, the impacts of climate change hold a significant influence over the incredibly vulnerable population. Tajikistan with its unique cultural traditions and ancient traditional artistic style is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of increasing natural disasters and environmental issues.
The space for civic and political expression in Tajikistan is closing – a trend which has accelerated since the Covid-19 pandemic. In this context it is essential to support local artists by promoting and use their work as a tool for advocacy and activism. With the support of international actors, the work of local artists has proven to be a powerful and provocative tool in recent years in Tajikistan, provoking thought and dialogue around important social, gender and human rights questions.
Tackling shared vulnerability to climate change
Sayohati Sabz is an innovative art collaboration project that will bring together individuals who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change with art activists passionate about advocating for sustainable change through their work. Just like the devastating effects of climate change, Sayohati Sabz goes beyond cultural, social, and geographical borders–and will engage some of the communities most affected and most marginalized from the global discussion.
In January 2022, the journey will begin with the Sabz Lab (Green Lab) as a collaborative space bringing together Tajik and European artists, climate experts and art activists to learn and reflect on the shared vulnerability to climate change and to formulate artistic approaches that give voices to the marginalized, and curate an expressive multimedia exhibition showcasing international art practices working with climate change issues and vulnerable communities.
From March, the artists will go on a journey through a series of art residencies in remote communities in regions across Tajikistan that are most affected by climate change. Artists will engage with the life realities of rural communities and co-create artistic work with local enthusiasts. From September onwards, GJ will present to the world its innovative work, at an international conference on ‘Art Against Climate Change’. Artists will reflect on and write about their experience of the social engagement aspect in a final publication for both local and international audiences.