Non-profit organisation Water is Life has worked with Deutsch N.Y. to steal street art from Kibera, Kenya - described as the largest and most violent slum in Africa.
Kibera, Kenya is one of the largest and most dangerous slums in Africa; home to over one million people who fight every day for food and clean water. Yet, just above their heads is what Water is Life thinks is the answer to many of their problems; valuable street art created over five years ago by acclaimed French street artist and TED Prize winner, JR.
But under the harsh Kenyan sun, the artwork has quickly deteriorated. It became worthless, that is why Water is Life decided to save these million dollar roofs and sell them to the highest bidder. All of the money is being used to provide better access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. These are the largest JR prints in the United States and the same ones that propelled him to international fame in 2008.
"The Art Heist for Good" took two years to plan and a few minutes to pull off. The team went in, took down the artwork and replaced them with proper, corrugated metals roofs to protect the residents from the rain and sun. The art was then immediately transported back to the United States in order to find an auction house.
The first piece from "The Art Heist for Good" was sold in September at Julien’s Auction House in Beverly Hills. The proceeds from this auction equalled 30-years-worth of salary for a Kibera resident. The second piece will go up for sale in Paris, next month. The proceeds from the art heist are going towards several things in Kibera, including installing a 5,000-gallon-per-day water filter, and building a permanent community hand washing station.
“Those who live in Kibera are not only unaware of the value of the artwork, they have no way to sell it themselves,” says Water is Life President, Kristine Bender. “So in a way, we’re not doing much more than providing a way for the people of Kibera to help save Kibera. It’s as simple as saving a community with artwork, and providing clean water to those who so desperately need it.”
Deutsch N.Y. Executive Creative Director Menno Kluin worked with Water Is Life on several award-winning projects while he was at DDB N.Y., and the account followed him to Deutsch earlier in 2015.
23 November 2015
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