International project Hanging by a Thread: Mosaic for Afghan Women, involving 47 countries, is proudly on display in Bundaberg.
Hanging by a Thread: Mosaic for Afghan Women is an artwork that comprises of 91 individual pieces of glass-mosaic made by mosaic artists across Queensland.
It will be displayed around Queensland after opening in Brisbane for the United Nations International Day of Peace last year, with the first stop on the tour at Bundaberg CQUniversity.
Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand (MAANZ) Queensland representative, and Bundaberg artist, Paul Perry said the giant handmade glass mosaic scarf was the Queensland contribution to the international project.
Paul said each piece was a reminder of how 20 years of hard-won freedoms could, in a matter of one year, come to be hanging by a thread.
He said it was an honour for Bundaberg to showcase the artwork after its initial stop in Brisbane last year.
“We would like to thank the Bundaberg campus of CQU for their generous support in hosting this display,” he said.
“As a member of MAANZ I was made aware of the project, its message, and the opportunity to participate.
“As this was something I strongly supported, I decided to make a number of pieces for the project.
“Within a few weeks I became one of the new Queensland representatives for MAANZ and took on the role of co-ordinating the project in Queensland, making the substrate for the display and arranging the touring exhibition of the finished mosaic within the state.”
He said mosaic artists had been working since September 2021 to gain the world’s attention to the erosion of the human rights of Afghan women and girls following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
More than 1200 participants from 47 countries have created individual glass-mosaic panels to be assembled as mosaic scarves.
Participating artists and community members have drew inspiration from the colours and designs of the now banned colourful traditional Afghan costumes.
Inspiration from Afghan traditions
The scarves in the artwork represent the resilience of Afghan culture beyond its own borders.
“The artwork is a made up of 91 glass mosaics, each one based on or inspired by designs of Afghanistan clothing,” Paul said.
“While each one is a beautiful piece of art in itself, they have been curated together into a scarf form – 3.6m wide and 1.2m high, which adds another dimension to its beauty and draws attention to the message of the project.
“I made six of the mosaic pieces using Italian, Mexican and Chinese smalti and glass tiles – international materials for an international project.”
Paul believes its important to create artwork that connects with its audience.
“A project like this has many layers and dimensions,” he said.
“Firstly, it’s a community project, connecting people with a common interest in a project.
“But beyond this, the project has a real and current message, drawing attention to the plight of Afghan women and girls under the Taliban regime.
“It is also a great opportunity to share the diverse beauty of mosaics as an art form, and especially one that can be used to carry a powerful narrative.”
Excitement of artwork in Bundaberg
Hanging by a Thread: Mosaic for Afghan Women will be displayed at CQUniversity in Bundaberg until the end of June.
“I’m excited to see the MFAW exhibition here in Bundaberg and to be able to share it up close and personal with friends, colleagues and other art lovers,” Paul said.
“While the 91 individual mosaics that make up the display are beautiful in their own right, the message of the exhibition in terms of continuing to raise awareness of the plight of Afghan women and girls under the Taliban regime, is equally important for Bundaberg.
“It is something I personally feel strongly about and share with the mosaic community internationally.
“It’s also exciting for this exhibition to be opening during International Women’s Week.
“It’s great to have Dr Rita Anwari be part of the opening event here, albeit via video link, as the Hanging by a Thread project has a strong synergy with her Women Empowerment and Leadership organisation.