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Efforts of Togetherness

Apr 18, 2020

Despite events being cancelled or postponed on a worldwide scale, and the precarious situation that many cultural institutions and designers have landed in because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also seen a new urgency develop to create new ways of retaining solidarity and connection.

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As we continue in a nearly worldwide lockdown, we see how designers, (cultural) institutions and galleries alike have together contributed to open-sourced practices, led open calls and moved to online exhibition spaces in efforts to support not only artists and designers but for all who are in need. Here, TLmag has bundled up a few efforts that we’ve come across that encourage hope and provide ways of caring for both creators and those in need. 

Art Design Lab’s “Design for Life”

Design gallery Art Design Lab’s “Design for Life” online auction aims to raise funds for Paris’s AP-HP Foundation for Research. Organised by the gallery’s founder Karine Scherrer and designer Sam Baron, the project will auction off the work of original drawings and prototypes from leading designers, with all of the proceeds going to the healthcare foundation. The sale gathers hundreds of designers from art, fashion, product design, interior design, graphic design and architecture, with pieces that are available to view online starting at €100.

The auction will be running until May 31st 2020.

Marcel Wander’s Image of Hope

Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has designed an artwork that combines the Italian flag and phrase “Andrà tutto bene”, which translates as everything will be alright. The designer invites all who can to download the image to share online or print to hang in one’s home as a universal message of hope and solidarity. “This moment reminds us of the importance of human connection and values, Marcel states,  “Together, we will see through this difficult time”. 

Meeting Masterpieces

In an instance focused on the influx of remote workers, artists Sam Hoffman and Jojo Kim have created a website that allows users to download Zoom meeting backgrounds as a way to personally donate to an artist and/or charity. Anybody is allowed to contribute, and downloads range between 1 and 5 US Dollars (and who wouldn’t want a background filled with fashionable puppies!?).

Southern Guild’s ‘CLOSER, STILL’ 

With South Africa in lockdown and the dire need for collective action to assist residents of under-resourced townships and informal settlements, Southern Guild gallery has launched “Closer, Still” – an online exhibition to raise funds for those hardest hit in their home country. The exhibition features work by 22 leading South African artists and designers, each of whose works has something important to say about the state of our world, seen through the prism of their own culture and experience. These designers, amongst which are Andile Dyalvane and David Reade, have partnered with the gallery to donate 30% from each sale to Afrika Tikkun’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.  These donations will go towards assisting those most in need of food, medical supplies, and support services – while nurturing the artistic talent that makes South Africa so unique.

The online exhibition is on view on Southern Guild’s website until May 7th 2020.

Stay Sane, Stay Safe

In Breda, the Dutch city with the most cases of COVID-19 in the country, 275 poster frames which usually house advertisements are now home to one of 12 selected colourful posters that encourage the city’s healthcare workers, grocery workers, postal workers, garbage men and residents. Made by several designers and exhibited by cultural organisation Graphic Matters, the posters are part of the ‘Stay Sane, Stay Safe’ project, initiated by design studio Lennarts & De Bruijn and lettering agency overdeschreef. So far over a 1000 designers from 73 countries have designed posters for the project, and their designs are offered as free downloads for anyone that wants to support healthcare workers and fellow human beings.

About the project, Dennis Elbers (creative director of Graphic Matters) said: “During these unusual times, creativity is appreciated more than ever – the world longs for inventive and creative manifestations. We’re contributing by covering Breda in these positive posters. With this project, we’re transforming the entire city into a massive public service announcement. If we all stick to these measures, it will all be okay.”

We’re sure that there are a lot more instances of solidarity to be found throughout and beyond the art and design scenes of the world, on both a small and large scale, and hope that we can continue to share them with you in the future. In the hope that they will help this difficult times of isolation and quarantine pass a little easier, we are also uploading articles from our print archives whose contributors and ideas continue to prove relevant in today’s climate. 

Cover Image: “Stay Safe / Stay Sane” campaign by studio Lennarts & De Bruijn, overdeschreef and Graphic Matters. Photo by Joost van Asch, Courtesy of Graphic Matters.

Design for Life, Courtesy of The Art Design Lab.
"Faire face, s'unir, s'aimer" by Marc Venot, Felt on Canson 180Gr, 24 x 32 cm. Courtesy of The Art Design Lab
“Andrà tutto bene", Marcel Wanders.
Andile Dyalvane, Moon Jar: The Swan, Glazed stoneware clay, 33 x 28cm, One-off Courtesy of Southern Gild gallery // Produced during Andile Dyalvane’s recent residency at Leach Pottery in St. Ives in the UK, this vessel melds Japanese and British studio pottery with African influences. Andile depicts the flora and birdlife of the British coastal village on a traditional Japanese moon jar shape, using his distinctive technique of incising into clay that is reminiscent of bodily scarification.
Guy du Toit, Stoele/Chairs, Patinated bronze, 19 x 8.6 x 9 cm each, Photo Credit: Adriaan Louw, Courtesy of Southern Gild gallery // These tiny replicas of straight-backed wooden chairs (“staatsdiens stoele”) have a weight and solidity when translated into bronze. Ever playful, renowned sculptor Guy du Toit challenges our perception of these everyday pieces of furniture so familiar from government offices
Atang Tshikare, Le Kamoso (Even Tomorrow), Ceramic, 33 x 33 x 33 cm, One-off, Courtesy of Southern Gild gallery // Like a toadstool, Le Kamoso springs up from the earth, its rounded forms and containing spaces conjured from the circular mud structures so prevalent in rural Southern Africa. This small ceramic side-table is a physical manifestation of a mythological storyline that the artist “narrates” through his objects. His entire oeuvre is intertwined with an ongoing narrative that he writes with his wife, linguist Lexi Lekhanya- Tshikare, and which draws on their Sotho and Tswana culture
"Stay Safe / Stay Sane" campaign by studio Lennarts & De Bruijn, overdeschreef and Graphic Matters. Photo by Joost van Asch, Courtesy of Graphic Matters.
"Stay Safe / Stay Sane" campaign by studio Lennarts & De Bruijn, overdeschreef and Graphic Matters. Photo by Joost van Asch, Courtesy of Graphic Matters.
"Stay Safe / Stay Sane" campaign by studio Lennarts & De Bruijn, overdeschreef and Graphic Matters. Photo by Joost van Asch, Courtesy of Graphic Matters.
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