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Bright colors, bright futures

September 22, 2023 - A great way to explore a new place is through its art. From Fijian homewares to Saudi and Thai textiles, Omani artisans to Portuguese and Ibizan crafts, open your eyes to local life through our community experiences that boost regional prosperity.

Color can brighten your day. Images can be calming or provoking. Textures can remind you of natural wonders. Perhaps Picasso summed it up best when he mused, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

You travel to see and experience things that you don’t have at home so why not start with local art? Roll up your sleeves and try your hand at weaving or painting, and you’ll also support local entrepreneurship and community empowerment.

Sense of Oman

Originally, the domain of Bedouin nomads, Oman’s lush northern coast lies between the sea and inland mountains and is known for its rugged landscape and warm hospitality. Six Senses Zighy Bay launched a new experience in October 2022 for guests to directly support the Dibba Women Association and gain a very joyous Sense of Oman.

The Association has been empowering women since it started in 2015. Given the remoteness of the area and conservative culture, it initially provided a vital gathering place for local women. Over time, they started a nursery for children from the surrounding mountains so that the mothers could continue to work together, producing handmade crafts, pottery, palm weaving, perfume, spices, and self-taught henna art. Further development has led to the creation of a preschool where kids from three years old can learn Arabic, English, and Mathematics. 

The morning activity is a magical moment of human interaction and learning experience for both sides. Guests discover a new culture by exchanging with the ladies and learning about their traditions, customs, fears, and dreams. The ladies can also discover a different world as they engage with our guests’ cultures too. It also provides vital funding and is the next step towards them becoming even more self-sufficient.

“More than 25 women have improved access to income and gained new online customers thanks to word of mouth from Six Senses Zighy Bay’s guests,” says Sustainability Director Armand Thieblemont. “The women now have full control of the management of their organization to enhance their entrepreneurial spirits and cooperation and further develop the school programs for their children. I feel very optimistic about the future.”

Six Senses Zighy Bay has been shortlisted for Regenerative Travel’s Experience of the Year award, encapsulating the transformative journey of an experience that rejuvenates and replenishes, leaving behind more than it takes.

Beautiful Batik Art

Away from the notorious tourist traps, Koh Yao Noi has remained one of Thailand’s hidden gems, where conscious tourism helps local fishing villages and artisans preserve their way of life and share their stories.

Six Senses Yao Noi and the Women’s Club of Koh Yao Noi invite you to learn the art of batik-painting. The resort activity involves painting on t-shirts and canvases designed by the women from the island or painting your self-drawn canvases and sarongs at the Batik Center. Allow two days for the painting to dry and be ready to take it home as a souvenir. The Batik Center is also one of the first stops of our Yao Noi Island Tour, which takes you through its fishing villages, rice fields, and rubber tree plantations.

“You’ll not only be enjoying a one-of-a-kind authentic experience while exploring South Thailand’s traditions,” says Regional General Manager Graham Grant, “You’ll also be helping this 6,000-strong island community generate income to preserve its way of life in this unspoiled paradise that has steadfastly maintained its natural beauty and local Thai culture.”

Umluj Sadu Weavers 

As we celebrate the upcoming opening of Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea, we’ll be introducing our guests to the art of sadu weaving. Sadu weaving holds immense historical significance in Saudi Arabia, as it is deeply rooted in the nomadic lifestyle of the Arabian Peninsula and represents a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations.

The intricate patterns and vibrant colors reflect the connection between the weavers and surrounding desert environment, depicting elements such as sand dunes, palm trees, and camels. Through their weaving, the Bedouin women express their intimate knowledge of the natural world and provide a visual narrative of their history and identity.

Sadu weaving also holds economic significance as it played a vital role in the livelihoods of Bedouin communities. In the past, these woven textiles were essential for their practical use in creating tents, rugs, and personal garments that provided protection from the harsh desert climate. Moreover, sadu textiles served as a medium of exchange. In recognition of its historical and cultural importance, sadu weaving was added to UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2020. This acknowledgment not only preserves and safeguards the techniques and traditions of sadu weaving, but also elevates its cultural value on a global scale.

Artisanal Adventures

If you’re looking for purpose behind your purchases, Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal is a good place to start as it is where our resident artist Helena Ferreira offers regular tile painting classes.

While you’re with us, you’ll notice we have two beautiful 18th-century tile panels behind the hearth of Vale de Abraão Restaurant, which have inspired us to start a unique project: The Sustainability Wall of Fame. You can choose the design you like from our life-size catalog of 55 unique tile patterns displayed on the wall of our organic garden. Helena will create a perfect copy of one of these ancient tiles to add to the wall and sign your name in history, with the proceeds of each sale contributing to our Sustainability Fund. Can you help us make it to the end of the wall? 

Once a month, Six Senses Ibiza’s sustainable fashion store Agora hosts a Mercado Artesanal. The terrace is stacked high with an exciting and authentic collection of Ibizan crafts, including handmade toys, ceramics, jewelry, and crystals. 

Item by item, Agora is redefining the notion of luxury. “Gradually, the fashion and luxury industries are coming to terms with their impact on the world (and it is not inconsiderable), and beginning to turn themselves around: reframe their supply chains, reconsider their materials and the communities that produce them,” says co-founder Tiffanie Darke. “At the Agora, we have arranged our stories into four chapters: recycle, restore, rent, and reduce. These, we believe, are the ways we can all shop more sustainably.”

Rise Beyond the Reef

Six Senses Fiji works with the non-profit Rise Beyond the Reef to support women and girls in remote Fijian communities, teaching them to create and market beautiful homewares and crafts using traditional skills. This helps them build a brighter future by promoting entrepreneurship and greater access to markets.

Products vary from children’s games and toys to fashion items such as necklaces, pouches, and bags. Homewares include placemats, coasters, and wall hangings woven from a material called kuta – a reed harvested from lakes and then dried out to use for weaving.

We love these items and use them to decorate our villas and restaurants. You can also browse the latest collections in our boutique. Each item has a story, and all profits go to supporting the artisan producers and their rural community.

Executive Director Janet Lotawa is a co-founder of Rise Beyond the Reef. Alongside an online store, she oversaw the launch of a new shed store in Nadi, Fiji, in August 2023.

As the non-profit explains, “It’s not about helping the poor; it’s about creating value around the important role remote communities play in our world’s whole picture. It’s about supporting rather than directing. It’s about seeing our collective future. That’s when we all rise together."

As a values-first brand with wellness and sustainability at our core, Six Senses has always served as a changemaker to offer authentic, immersive guest experiences while making a positive local impact. The regenerative travel movement is growing, and we’re thrilled to play a part in it.

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