#GucciArtWall: the House dedicates its global murals to ARTOLUTION on World Refugee Day, June 20

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE were proud to announced a new partnership with ARTOLUTION to help bring public arts programming to refugee and vulnerable communities around the world.

Over the course of the next three years, these programmes will directly impact the lives of thousands of women, children and families from socially excluded and displaced communities, with interactive art projects to promote reconciliation, healing and inclusion. The partnership aims to foster empowerment and social justice through self-expression and gender equity.

ARTOLUTION is a non-profit, international, community-based public art organization founded in 2009 by artists Joel Bergner and Max Frieder. It is dedicated to promoting positive social change through creative, participatory and collaborative art-making in distressed communities.

Through the making of murals and interactive sculptures, displaced and traumatised people learn empowerment through self-expression. ARTOLUTION has worked in communities across 30 countries, implementing over 400 projects, most recently in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

To coincide with World Refugee Day on 20th June, Gucci is dedicating its global ArtWalls to ARTOLUTION,, which specialises in visual public art mediums such as mural art and community sculpture (though many of its projects also include elements of performance such as dance, theatre and music).

In New York, London, Milan, Hong Kong and Shanghai, the Gucci ArtWalls have been given over to ARTOLUTION to replicate community artworks that have been created around the world.

In this way, Gucci is aiming to spread awareness of ARTOLUTION’s work and the determination and spirit of the women, children and families being helped by its programs.

As with previous ArtWall projects, the Gucci App offers the possibility to scan the ArtWalls and obtain details about the murals and what they represent.

Joel Bergner said: ‘We believe that the process of creating collaborative art is a powerful tool to bring diverse communities together in the face of conflict and social turmoil in order to address challenges that they face.

ARTOLUTION projects engage women, youth and communities that have faced social exclusion and trauma, including refugees, street youth, the incarcerated, people with physical and mental disabilities, and young people living in areas of violent conflict or extreme poverty.’

Max Frieder said: ‘We focus on cultivating ongoing community-based public arts programmes by educating local artists and teachers globally on how to transform their communities through inspiring public engagement, creative facilitation and cooperative participation.

Through these locally-led programmes, we believe this work is the next phase in the history of the arts and education in emergencies, conflicts and crises. Children and families are able to tell their stories through their own hands to their communities and to the world, this is the core of ARTOLUTION.’

Gucci Artwall New York:

Lafayette Street, between Prince Street and Spring Street. The original artwork was created in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2016. Children and adolescents at an orphanage in Johannesburg worked together to create a giant mural on the exterior wall of their centre. The group chose to paint supportive people in their lives, along with a mosaic of cultural symbols representing pan-African unity.

The central image features a woman surrounded by clouds, in which each child wrote their dreams for the future, and their “superpowers”, or special talents. Lead artist: Joel Artista. Project Partners: The Adding Color to Lives initiative with Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, Sophie Kanza Foundation, and the 5 Cees Orphanage.

Gucci Artwall London:

Just off East London’s famous Brick Lane. The original artwork was created in Amman, Jordan, in 2017. Syrian refugee girls and Jordanian girls of all ages came together to create this massive mural in the entrance to their school, a project that focused on reducing tensions and promoting social cohesionbetween these two groups.

ARTOLUTION artists guided them through the process of designing and painting artwork that reflected the bonds thatbrought them together, symbolised by an image of pouring tea in reference to hospitality. Lead artists: Joel Artista and Max Frieder. Project Partners: ARTOLUTION, The German Development Agency (GIZ), the Qudra Program, the European Union, and the Mawada Initiative.

Gucci Artwall Milan:

Largo la Foppa, in the district of Corso Garibaldi. The original artwork was created in Washington, D.C., America, in2016. This community mural project was part of a series that took place in some of the most turbulent areas of South East Washington, D.C.

The programme brought together youth from various neighbourhoods, in order to address important issues such as gender equity, gang violence and gentrification. Lead artist: Max Frieder. Project Partner: DC Levee.

Gucci Artwall Hong Kong:

D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong. The original artwork was created in Alice Springs, Australia, in 2017. ARTOLUTION has led a series of projects with Aboriginal communities in the Central Desert of Australia, through which residents of all ages work together to celebrate their culture and encourage healthy relationships.

For this mural, the elders told traditional stories to children and teenagers in their community, who were then inspired to create artwork focusing on significant animals in their culture. Lead artists: Joel Artista and Max Frieder. Project Partners: ARTOLUTION, The Baker Institute, Tangentyere.

Gucci Artwall Shanghai:

Fengsheng Li, Jingan district. The original artwork was created in Central Valley, California, America, in 2016. Children, teens and adults in the Central Valley of California, an economically depressed region comprised of many diverse migrant workers and agricultural communities, designed and painted a series of murals featuring themes of hope, resilience and community pride.

In this mural, a farm worker reaches out his hand as a tree grows out of it, symbolising the connection between local residents and the natural environment. Behind him are fields, where participants painted images of what they would like to see grown and nurtured in their community – not only crops, but also quality education, peace, healthy families and positive relationships. Lead artists: Artolution co-founder and co-director Joel Bergner collaborated with local artist Richard Gomez. Project Partners: UC Merced, Planada School District.