Eternal Forest Sanctuary

Eternal Forest Vision 

Eternal Forest explores the human relationship with forests, biodiversity and the sacred through art. Looking at a timeline beyond human life - a hundred, a thousand, 10,000 years, how can art be created at this timescale? 

An ongoing art project Eternal Forest is the vision to create 1000 Eternal Forest Sanctuaries across the World, protected for 1000 years. Each sanctuary - a gift of ancient trees and biodiversity to future generations. An expression of hope, love and care for those who will come after us. Let us be remembered as the generations which created 1000 sanctuaries, changing humanity's relationship to nature forever. 

Eternal Forest Sanctuary, Bienal de Coruche, Herdade dos Concelhos, 2019

Why?

Eternal Forest project was born in Portugal, as my response to globally pervasive deforestation, loss of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, with intention to contribute to rewilding our psyche and our planet. Inviting deep-time thinking, Eternal Forest asks the question: ‘how can we create spaces for deep connection with nature through art and ecology?’

We live in a critical time, when the level of destruction of biodiversity and wildlife have made us witness degradation and collapse of ecosystems around the globe. Each of us needs to think: how are we contributing to the biosphere and to the future of this planet? What do we want to create and what do we want to be remembered for? What can we do together, today, to help restore balance on this planet? 

Could an Eternal Forest Sanctuary be the key to answering these questions?

An Eternal Forest Sanctuary is an offering, a gift of an old-growth biodiverse forest to future generations. Today, old-growth forests are few; many people have never experienced the awe of being in the presence of a 1,000-year-old being. 

Eternal Forest is the vision to make this experience possible for those who come after us. It is an invitation to become part of history, by co-creating a new kind of ecological artwork: establishing an Eternal Forest Sanctuary for 1,000 years.

Are you worried about pervasive deforestation? Do you think that loss of biodiversity is a problem? Do you want to contribute to rewilding our psyche and our planet? 

Through Eternal Forest we can explore our relationship with forests, biodiversity and the sacred. Looking at a timeline beyond our life - a hundred, a thousand, 10,000 years, how can we  create a legacy at this timescale? 

The Eternal Forest art project builds awareness of the beauty and the deep impact a biodiverse forest and nature can have on our lives, but it also aims to create beautiful natural spaces that positively contribute to local biodiversity.

Eternal Forest considers the human need for time and space for contemplation, for regeneration in natural time and space distant from everyday life. Eternal Forest, through an artistic vision, creates such space, which helps us reconnect with our inner, quiet centres in a fast-changing and tumultuous world.

Eternal Forest Sanctuary, Bienal de Coruche, Herdade dos Concelhos, 2019

What is Eternal Forest Sanctuary?

Eternal Forest Sanctuary is a combination of art, nature protection, and community working together. It offers us a deeper connection with nature, allowing us to contribute to improving the biosphere in our region.  

Eternal Forest Sanctuary invites us to think, dream and imagine together what a place could be in 1,000 years, how it would contribute to preservation of biodiversity and human culture. 

Eternal Forest Sanctuary is a forest space designed with art and in collaboration with nature to boost biodiversity. It is created to be protected and supported by the local community as guardians. The purpose of these spaces is to encourage quiet and contemplative activities: various ‘forest’ practices, such as forest bathing, meditation, mindful walks, ecopsychology, learning deep ecology, community gatherings and celebrations of nature’s cycles, inspiration and art, while helping the forest to grow. 

We experience Eternal Forest, but we do not take from it. We do not harvest it, we just let it be and enjoy the experience of being in true biodiversity, in a truly wild forest. 

Eternal Forest will require our protection. 1000 years is many human generations – forest time is different from ours. Eternal Forest is an invitation to dream of growing a deep forest, to experience a deeper sense of time. 

In time, great trees will rise. At times calamities and diseases might occur, but should we perhaps trust nature and let it restore itself and rejuvenate on its own? At the start, perhaps a careful intervention will be required to support the regeneration of biodiversity and the health of the ecosystem. 

Eternal Forest Sanctuary is the time and space for us to be with ourselves, away from everyday activities. It is the time and space to be quiet, to be still, to observe, to tune into the forest, to tune into its wisdom and to let ourselves be taken into its flow. It is the time and space for us to recover and restore, to open our senses and connect our lives with that of the forest.

Who is it for?

Eternal Forest Sanctuary is for the whole community to enjoy: for the young and the old, for humans and animals, for trees and insects. It is equally welcoming to all beings. Human community may play a key role as guardians in an Eternal Forest Sanctuary.

How do we create it?

Eternal Forest proposes to establish an area of forest as an artwork and a sanctuary to benefit both humans and nature. It will be a designed, protected space with no harvesting of forest resources. We will listen to the land to see what its dream is, what it needs to flourish. If needed, we will introduce 'supportive' species of wild grasses, herbs, flowers and trees, which will enable a regeneration of a larger biodiverse system. It will be a space designed for human enjoyment, a landmark artwork for experiencing biodiversity far into the future. Eternal Forest offers us, humans, beauty and inspiration that will touch the hearts of future generations for a thousand years to come. 

The design and creation of Eternal Forest is proposed as an on-going collaborative work between artists, scientists, forest experts,  ecosystem restoration and reforestation experts - to help understand the cycles of nature, the effect of climate change on the forest ecosystem and biodiversity, driven and organised by the local community . 



Model and future

Eternal Forest Sanctuary project is being developed on the basis of emerging a model which is clear and shareable on a larger international scale. So in a way we are the first test community which will co-create the first test site. Through our gatherings, discussions, and learning we will then be able to create a recipe for other communities to create their own Eternal Forest Sanctuary. 

Eternal Forest is intended as a model for artistic and community interventions around Europe and throughout the world. In every location Eternal Forest can have a different artistic expression connected with the local ecological and cultural landscape - always, however, preserving the vision of Eternal Forest as an artwork, a sanctuary rather than land for ‘production’.

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