Global Citizen 2015

On 27 November 2015, we honored Prof. Dr. Peter Piot as he received the 2015 Antwerp Management School Global Citizen Award. His contribution to global health and his engagement and leadership in the field make him an inspiration for past and future generations to come. The Award was a small and unique version of the Global Citizenship artwork that I have made for the Antwerp Management School.

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Global Citizenship and Antwerp Management School

Global Citizenship Process

Antwerp Management School – one of the leading business schools in Europe – asked me to make an artwork for one of their classrooms. The classroom where the “3 Continent Masters of Global Management” have their courses was already completely restyled during the summer. For this classroom they were looking for a piece of art that would inspire the students and had to represent the young and international character of the business school. The theme for the artwork was “Global Citizenship”, as this is one of the pillars of Antwerp Management School.

“As a result of living in a globalized world we see we have an added layer of responsibility. We also are responsible for being members of a world community faced with problems that no single country by itself can solve. The major challenge that we have is to build a sustainable values-based world community that can solve the global issues we all face.
What might our community’s values be ? They are the values that world leaders have been advocating for the past 75 years, including human rights, religious pluralism, gender equity, environmental protection, sustainable development, pverty alleviation, the prevention and cessation of conflicts between countries, the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, humanitarian assistance and the preservation and celebration of cultural diversity.” source “Global Citizen Initiative”.

I knew I had to design artwork that needed to be impressive and occupy the vast space. The place set aside for the artwork was the wall above the entrance door. Therefore, a long narrow piece of art (14m x 1,25m), would fit snugly and which could be felt in the entire room

The work has become a “collage”: the background of the artwork is a world map made up of old stamps of traveling passports. This should make us feel that it is about our planet. The stamps refer to the national way of thinking, not global.
The “degradé” on the background shows the viewer that the usage of those stamps is in the past and that we should move towards a global citizenship.

In the foreground you can see clips taken from passports from different countries. This tells the viewer that we are still part of a country, culture, race, and religion, which is important because it gives meaning to our existence, and will shape us further. The land-stamps, however, have been removed because we need to think more globally.
I have chosen images from passports that represent nature. Because nature is our most important asset we have on our planet. Other images feel more spiritual, as spirituality should help us in our path to Global Citizenship, and in the pursuit of its values.

The clips taken from the passports have been spaced throughout the artwork and are placed in globes and spheres. This gives the idea of ​​planets in the universe.

Can you identify the origin of the passports? From left to right: Macao, Turkey, Mexico, China, Tajikistan, Thailand, Norway, US, Belgium and UK.

Spirituality

Abbvie – the pharmaceutical company – asked me and a few dozen other artists worldwide to create an artwork about a patient with hepatitis C. With this initiative Abbvie wants to put the impact of this disease on a patient’s life in the spotlight. The patient assigned to me didn’t want to be recognisable, as he was ashamed of his condition. Spirituality helps him to look on the bright side and help him deal with his fear, guilt and shame. As all of us, his story is still unfinished as his future still needs to be written.

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One of my friends who has a house at the Belgian seaside, and is an avid collector of my work, asked me to take some shots of the Belgian Coast and its sea. The image had to be both nostalgic and peacefull. Besides that, the image needed to be powerful and illustrate the vastness of the sea. Even though upon first glance the image apears effortless, there is more to it than meets the eye initially. Take time to explore the image !