Beauty without Irony (the art collective that gave birth to Designers against AIDS in 2001) wants to make the world more beautiful by using elements from pop culture to raise awareness about the fact that life is worth living and that true beauty, love, friendship, health and nature bring lots more- and longer lasting- joy than expensive handbags, villas or yachts.
In the last 5 years I’ve been very busy expanding our NGO Designers against AIDS and opening our first education center in Antwerp, where we teach young people from all over the world how they can use pop culture to tell their peers that safe sex is needed, normal and cool.
During the Christmas holiday period I had some time to reflect and it suddenly struck me that we can use the same techniques to tell the world that life is worth living if you can appreciate the beauty that is around you already: your friends and family, nature, your cat, dog and/or canary, discovering different cultures, doing volunteer work. It’s not about chasing after more stuff of which most of us have way too much anyway- as that won’t make you happy- it just will make you poor. The reason the economy is collapsing right now is that so many people have been greedy and advertisements have urged us to spend above our means. Realizing that you don’t have to play that game anymore is liberating: you save money, de-cluttering your space frees your mind, you can work fewer hours and do fun things instead, like volunteer work (try it and you’ll get hooked!), exploring your creativity or just a nice walk in the park with a friend.
Isn’t it way more fulfilling to help make the world a better place than to stress over where to find the money to buy that new pair of shoes, that are again the moment you carry them out of the store, only to be replaced by another pair you have to rush/lust after? Thought so.
Artists and creatives have always been on the forefront of social change and it’s my hope that together with them and with supportive brands and organizations we can build and expand Beauty without Irony in such a way that we can create beautiful and efficient awareness campaigns to use in social media and in print, organize an exhibition around the concept of pure beauty that should be so inspiring that you’re dizzy when you leave the space afterwards, work on our next book and open a second education center, this time in Los Angeles and with the idea of building a beautiful and better/more just world together using elements from pop culture. Safe sex is a natural part of this- but not the only part.
Would you like to join? Let us know in the comments section or send me a message at Ninette@designersagainstaids.com