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Our experience organizing Weaving Hopes for the Future (in the UK and Malaysia)

Kemaskini: 8 Mac

Weaving Hopes for the Future is a project to empower Indigenous youth and women from Peninsula Malaysia.


We curated a full two weeks exhibition outlining the craft artwork from Indigenous Temuan master weavers, and a series of documentary produced by Jakun youths in Kuala Rompin--- all to engage with the global community about climate reparations and Loss and Damage and the push for climate finance from the Global North. This project was supported by British Council Malaysia.



Physical climate workshop

The first WHftF climate and land rights workshop is to set the tone of the whole project, provide guideline and exploring feedbacks, provide an avenue for almost all team members to meet and get to know with each other. The workshop was held for three days, 29 April 2021 - 2 May 2021 at Pusat Latihan JAKOA Damansara Damai.


Activities and topics covered in the workshop:

  1. Visit to Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Buloh and Kampung Orang Asli Busut Baru; Two-way communication between Orang Asli from Pahang and Selangor on land rights, history stocktaking, establish network, and cultural rights

  2. What is Weaving Hopes for the Future ? An Introduction and Discussion

  3. Climate Change 101

  4. Indigenous customary land rights 101 and reflection

  5. Sharing session from Indigenous Dayak women and climate change.

  6. Climate Governance : What is COP26 and UNFCCC processes

  7. Climate Governance : COP26 Simulation ( localized )

  8. Sharing session on UNPFII18 in New York + UN Assembly in Geneva

  9. Sharing session from Minga Indigena – Indigenous Peoples in South America and the Amazon

  10. Traditional art sharing session

  11. Simulation on ideation of an art and cultural storytelling

Workshop outcome We conducted a series of surveys throughout the workshop. Overall, all participants level of understanding about customary land and climate change increases;

  • Better understanding on UNDRIP and FPIC

  • Formation of Weaving team and Storytelling team

  • Team members understood their roles in the project and how their end-product might look like and what it will be used for

  • Team members will communicate as clearly as we can, respecting decisions, and offer flexibility during this pandemic and lockdowns.

  • Received individual and collective consent and MOU from all Indigenous members


Art installation production (weaving)

The weaving process took about five months, from May 2021 – October 2021. The forage and drying process of mengkuang leaves took the longest. Foraging mengkuang leaves was done in multiple areas by Hanim, Marini and Noraini during the first few months. However, due to the multiple lockdowns in Selangor, the foraging process was halted and resumed but progression was very slow. The communal process was disrupted, and the foraging was done sometimes individually, and in batches. Foraging is also affected by heavy rainfall periods recorded in July and August. For example, during the whole of August, no foraging was done.



The final weaving process was actually quite short. Once the materials are ready in September, the lockdowns were eased. The weaving team manage to meet together and communally weave the tikar. However, during the 2nd week, two of the weaver’s husbands were infected by the virus, and eventually one of the weavers contracted the virus and the communal weaving practice was halted. Despite the setback, during the 3rd week, Hanim and Marini both managed to complete the last pieces of the tikar and coated the tikar with a layer of protective shellac.


Exhibition

The first exhibition was held at Mitchell Library under Glasgow City Council and the second exhibition was held in Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow under The People's Summit organized by COP26 Coalition, the largest civil society side event in COP26.



  • Under the Get Ready Glasgow initiative, the Glasgow City Council has secured spaces in Glasgow City Center for COP26 exhibitions. Under this initiative, Weaving Hopes were selected to curate at The Mitchell Library Glasgow from 2nd November to 5th November. The team led by Syafiqah communicated with Duncan Brookes, the Climate Change lead of the council and coordinated planning with Dawn Vallance, the Principle Librarian and lead coordinator of COP26.

  • The application for the People Summit was accepted allowing Weaving Hopes to organize 2 events; exhibition and documentary screening. The team is led by Nadiah and Syafiqah. They coordinated with the COP26 coalition’s People Summit team led by Jana Ahlers and the CCA team.


Documentary screening

We also did a documentary film screening in CCA Glasgow where around 60 people attended. The screening happened the same day with our exhibition opening in Intermedia Gallery in CCA earlier during the day. This also coincides with Loss and Damage Day at COP26, which is the driver of our project. We also IG Live this screening (watch this here)



Audience was very receptive and shocked at knowing that there are Indigenous People living in Peninsula Malaysia. During the Q&A session, cultural rights and Indigenous self-determination, and women empowerment were at the heart of the conversation. Audience varies across students, a few COP26 delegates, Malaysians, COP26 coalition members and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coordinator.


Online launch in Malaysia

The online launch for Weaving Hopes has around 1100 views, 3126 people reached as of today, and around 48 comments on Facebook Live. The online launch planning is coordinated by Anise, Aroe and Nadiah. With Aroe as the moderator, the panel is participated by Indiegnous team from Sungai Buloh and Rompin, Indigenous youth leaders Azian Ng and Shereen Ajani Abigael, as well as two of our coordinators in Glasgow, Fathiah and Syafiqah. The documentary was also screened officially and the Weaving Hopes website was officially launched.


The conversation and project was highlighted by several key Indigenous leaders in Malaysia and also Sabah. The team hopes to expand this project through community screening but the details will only be discussed in the debrief in January and February 2022.


Important links

Facebook Live (here)

Twitter Thread (here)



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