Dakis Joannou with Live Painting of Dakis and Lietta, 2018, by George Condo.
Dakis Joannouwith Live Painting of Dakis and Lietta, 2018, by George Condo.

Dakis Joannou with Live Painting of Dakis and Lietta, 2018, by George Condo.

He was Jeff Koons’ best man, is a regular dinner companion of Maurizio Cattelan
and Urs Fischer, and has invited George Condo to create a show for his non-profit Deste Foundation on a Greek island this summer. Darius Sanai meets Dakis Joannou, the art world’s most consummate host and one of its most imaginative and significant collectors, and finds that what drives him is friendship and curiosity

Anyone floating in more rarefied circles at Art Basel, the world’s preeminent art fair, in Switzerland this June won’t help but hear “See you at Hydra!” being tossed around with parting air kisses as collectors depart. In this case, the reference to the Greek island is not to a private yacht or party, but the most desirable and intriguingly democratic art event of the year.

The brainchild of the Greek-Cypriot tycoon, collector, and artists’ friend Dakis Joannou, “Hydra” refers to a series of initiatives both on the Greek mainland and the small island near Athens, centred on the spaces of Joannou’s non-profit Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art (the name Deste comes from the Greek word for “look”).

Joannouwith Maurizio Cattelan<br />

Dakis Joannou with his dear friend, italian artist Maurizio Cattelan

The building on Hydra is a converted slaughterhouse, which each year features one of the world’s most interesting art shows and related events in the Hydra Slaughterhouse Project. This year’s superstar is George Condo, whose show is entitled “The Mad and the Lonely”.

He follows on the heels of Jeff Koons two years ago, who also designed the exterior of Joannou’s yacht. The uniqueness of Hydra is generated by Joannou himself.

No usual collector, he is, famously, close friends with the artists whose work he procures, spending long evenings with the likes of Koons, Condo, Urs Fischer and Maurizio Cattelan
, talking about life, the universe and everything.

“We meet, we drink, we go for dinner, we talk – maybe it’s about gossip or about art,” says Joannou. “I love how artists think, the original thoughts they have and the angles they take about things. It’s very different to say the way a banker thinks.

I enjoy being with artists a lot.” While there are private dinners, the shows are open to the public and, as it’s a small place, artists and art-world illuminati bump around with tourists who come along to see the art. Anyone can experience 90 per cent of the buzz at Hydra just by buying a ferry ticket. Is Joannou driven by a higher philanthropic calling?

Joannou and Jeff Koons,with Koons’ Gazing Ball Tripod, 2020-2022

Joannou and American artist,Jeff Koons, with Koons’ Gazing Ball Tripod, 2020-2022

“No, not at all. I don’t put any responsibility on myself about what I’m doing,” he says. “I just do what I feel like doing and it’s up to the public to respond. I’m not doing it for this sake or that sake, I’m just doing what I feel I should do.”

Is it important for Joannou that visitors understand the underlying impetus behind the shows, his raisons d’être? “It’s up to them, I don’t mind,” he says. “I’m just putting out there what I think and feel, but people can take it as they like.”

But he must take some pleasure out of GREEK GIFTS He was Jeff Koons’ best man, is a regular dinner companion of Maurizio Cattelan
and Urs Fischer, and has invited George Condo to create a show for his non-profit Deste Foundation on a Greek island this summer.

Darius Sanai meets Dakis Joannou, the art world’s most consummate host and one of its most imaginative and significant collectors, and finds that what drives him is friendship and curiosity 18 creating something out of nothing, so to speak? “I am very pleased to see a positive response,”
he says.

Joannou with artist Jeff Koons and artist Urs Fischer

Joannou with artist Jeff Koons and artist Urs Fischer

“I cannot deny that. I mean, we started on Hydra in 2009 with about 150 people on a long dinner table. And now there are up to 4,000 people who come, so I am very proud of getting a big crowd there.” Joannou says that he gives complete carte blanche to his artists.

When I ask him about Condo’s theme of “The Mad and the Lonely”, he replies, “You’ll have to ask George about that.” Like many highly driven people, Joannou has a hyper-creative mind of his own, and he knows enough to respect his fellow creatives.

See you on Hydra.

You can read Maryam Eisler’s interview with George Condo here.

Condo’s “The Mad and the Lonely” exhibition is at the Deste Foundation Project Space Slaughterhouse, Hydra, Greece, 18 June – 31 October 2024; deste.gr

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Philanthropic pioneers across education, conservation, health and culture , on key issues in the rapidly changing world of philanthropy. In association with UBS Optimus Foundation

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Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo is the founder and President of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. After graduating in Economy and Business at Turin university, she approached the world of contemporary art as a collector, in the early 1990s.

The cultural educationist

Who: Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

What: Founder and president, Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation

Where: Italy Achievements: Creating one of Italy’s leading contemporary art foundations and cultural education programmes together with the Italian Ministry of Culture; creating a new environmental and cultural centre from the island of San Giacomo, Venice.

LUX: How does educational philanthropy work effectively?

PSRR: In the educational workshops of the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation – the non-profit contemporary art centre I have led since 1995 – children are involved in activities designed to develop creativity, collaboration and mutual trust.

The challenge is precisely to imagine and then structure, within a contemporary-art museum, a dynamic learning and growth experience for a small group. I think it is very important to think of the museum as an educational agency, capable of promoting an education based on respect, coexistence, plurality. Philanthropy comes later and accordingly.

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Works from “Visual Persuasion”, an exhibition by Pauline Olowska at the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Turin, 2023-24

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Works from “Visual Persuasion”, an exhibition by Pauline Olowska at the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Turin, 2023-24

Follow LUX on instagram: luxthemagazine

A father and daughter looking at the camera

Self-portrait of Nachson Mimran and his daughter in Gstaad, Switzerland; October 2022; photographed by Nachson Mimran

The philanthropist entrepreneur

Who: Nachson Mimran

What: co-founder, to.org

Where: Switzerland Achievements: Developing a game-changing organisation combining philanthropy, investment, startup accelerator and socialenterprise multiplier.

LUX: Are the lines between philanthropy and profit-with-purpose getting blurred?

NM: Operationally, these lines cannot be “blurred” but business can support philanthropy. Our investment arm, TO Ventures, invests in teams that are building high-growth, high-impact, early-stage technology businesses across sectors to solve critical challenges for society and the environment. Returns from the TO Ventures programme finance the TO Foundation.

Additionally, in 2022, my brother Arieh co-founded with our nephew Joshua Phitoussi a dedicated decarbonisation fund, TO VC, spun out of the TO Ventures programme. Wasoko – a TO Ventures portfolio company – is Africa’s leading e-commerce B2B platform.

Working with major suppliers like P&G and Unilever, Wasoko accesses lower prices for mom-and-pop retailers across the continent, who can order fast-moving consumer goods on demand, allowing end customers to access goods more consistently and at more affordable prices. The company also recently announced that it is in merger talks with MaxAB, another TO Ventures portfolio company

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In 2019, Olivier Wenden was appointed by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Vice-President and CEO of the Foundation. Prior to this, he served as the Foundation’s Executive Director and Secretary General from 2014.

The national foundation director

Who: Olivier Wenden

What: CEO and Vice Chair, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

Where: Monaco Achievements: Launching an ocean fund; running an annual ocean-week initiative bringing together investors, NGOs, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and institutions; creating a new Ocean Innovators platform.

LUX: How do you measure the impacts of your projects and initiatives?

OW: We ask each project we fund to complete final reports highlighting the results achieved in relation to the initial objectives. The indicators depend on the nature of the project itself and may, for example, indicate the surface area of a protected zone at sea or on land that the project contributed to extend, or the number of people in a community helped by a solution deployed.

Each year, we use this and other data to draw up an impact report, which we give to our benefactors so we can be transparent about the financial grants committed and the results achieved. Finally, we carry out audits on projects in the field to ensure that everything is aligned with our values and according to the established agreement.

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Jessica Posner Odede is the CEO of Girl Effect, an international non-profit that builds media girls want, trust and need — from chatbots to chat shows and TV dramas to tech. Girl Effect’s content helps girls make choices and changes in their lives.

The female enabler

Who: Jessica Posner Odede

What: CEO, Girl Effect

Where: Kenya Achievements: running an international foundation bringing lasting education, enabling tools and enlightenment on fundamental health and education questions to girls in developing countries.

LUX: How do you leverage technology to achieve change?

JPO: Working online and offline, we move cautiously. We built a generative AI chatbot in a week to speak to girls about health and related questions for which they did not otherwise have access to answers; it spoke the way the kids speak, but it also “hallucinated”.

It made up information, whole sets of things that were just not true. So until we can launch a generated AI chatbot that doesn’t have the risk of promoting misinformation, we are using a much more manual chatbot.

Nonetheless, this project is a powerful example of how AI actually enables millions of girls across the world to access new opportunities and new services, and to enable themselves at massive scale, which we could have never done before.

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A captured moment with Girl Effect, which supports girls in developing countries at every stage and pressure point in their life journeys

Read more: Hansjörg Wyss on his pioneering work in conservation

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Ben Goldsmith is a British financier, philanthropist and environmentalist who has been at the forefront of campaigns for more rewilding in Britain and Europe. He founded and chairs the Conservation Collective, a network of locally-focused environmental foundations.

The conservationist

Who: Ben Goldsmith

What: Founder and chair, Conservation Collective

Where: UK Achievements: bringing together 20 individual conservation and environmental initiatives around the world under a single umbrella that provides expertise, leverage and effective tools.

LUX: Why does the environment matter?

BG: Environmental degradation is in a spiral with human suffering.

It’s always the poorest who suffer the hardest and the most when it comes to environmental pollution. The most obvious pathway to lifting people out of degradation is restoration.

More fish in the sea means fewer hungry people, healthier soil means more resilient food supply. Climate change is about a surfeit of carbon in the atmosphere; more nature means more carbon drawn out of the atmosphere.

julie packard

Julie Packard is executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which she helped found in the late 1970s. She is an international leader in the field of ocean conservation, and a leading voice for science-based policy reform in support of a healthy ocean.

The ocean conservationist

Who: Julie Packard

What: Vice Chair, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Where: US Achievements: Establishing and directing the gold standard for sustainable seafood; transforming the small fisheries industry in parts of Southeast Asia; funding education and research into ocean conservation in the US; founding the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

LUX: What have you learned through your educational programmes?

JP: When we opened the Aquarium 40 years ago, I thought the hardest part would be keeping the animals and exhibits healthy.

It turns out that our biggest challenge is on the dry side of the exhibits – how to engage people and get them to care on a personal level.

Our research has shown that it starts by drawing people into the awe, wonder and joy found in the ocean realm, then engaging them in learning more, casting a positive, hopeful vision of the future, giving people a way to help turn that vision into reality.

That’s true whether we’re talking to Aquarium guests about using less unnecessary plastic, or working with business partners to show the benefit to their bottom line of embracing sustainable seafood purchasing practices.

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A mauve comb jelly, aka mauve stinger, seen at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Into the Deep” exhibition

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Tom Hall is the Global Head of Social Impact & Philanthropy at UBS

“We have to be smart about how we allocate both philanthropic and investment capital, and we have to work in partnership with all of civil society”

Maya Ziswiler is Chair of the UBS Optimus Foundation

“How can you take advantage of your passion with rational thinking to ensure you’re actually having an impact, and working with others to maximise that?”

In association with UBS

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Aubain – dancer, yogi, community leader and refugee – takes a break in Nakivale refugee settlement, Uganda, April 2018; photographed by Nachson Mimran

As the number of high net worth individuals increases, the philanthropic sector funded by their wealth has expanded. But is philanthropy genuinely effective and useful? In this feature, LUX speaks to some of the leading players to establish how the future of the sector is – and should be – shaping up, and discovers the pitfalls to avoid

In 2018, Rob Reich, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University in the US, shook the world of philanthropy with his book, Just Giving. In it, he claimed that the world of philanthropy was failing democracy, particularly in the US.

Many philanthropists “were not giving away enough”, their foundations were opaque and they were not having the desired positive outcomes. Reich’s book stirred timely and impassioned debate in a global philanthropy sector that has grown in the past decades to be worth more than an estimated £182 billion (US$228 billion) by 2023, according to The National Philanthropic Trust.

But while some of his theses continue to have merit – in particular, questions about motivations for some philanthropic endeavour – it is also clear that much philanthropy has been evolving rapidly, becoming more efficient and focused on delivering transparent solutions to major issues that cannot or will not be solved either by purely public or purely private capital.

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Olena (26) with her children, Artem (8), Sofia (3), Oleksi (7) and Zlata (18months), who were taken away from Olena and put in an institution in Ukraine when Olena couldn’t afford to look after them. Social workers from Hope and Homes for CHildren (which is funded by charitable trusts and foundations including UBS Optimus Foundation) supported Olena to improve her financial situation and helped her get her children back home again

A fundamental starting point is to focus on achieving systemic rather than symptomatic change, says Tom Hall, UBS Global Head of Social Impact & Philanthropy. To do that most effectively, philanthropic and investment capital need to work together to create leverage around areas of fundamental global importance, such as climate, education and health.

“We have to be smart about how we allocate both philanthropic and investment capital, and we have to work in partnership with all of civil society to build the kind of economy that’s required to have sustainable pathways for people to prosper and for us to protect our planet,” he says.

These aims are encapsulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, while some may take issue with the United Nations and the concept of SDGs in general, there is little room for doubt that addressing the focal points highlighted by these 17 goals is fundamental to global health and wealth in the future. At the heart of it all is sustainability, which means ensuring a healthy planet and an equitable future for all people on it.

Footballer Patrice Evra, seen through Extreme E tyre, Neom, Saudi Arabia, March 2023; photographed by Nachson Mimran

Every endeavour must be approached through this lens, including philanthropy. In addressing this point, philanthropy has to become bolder: this means doing the research, taking risks, measuring results and leveraging both its capital and its connections with private and public capital.

And, as we will see, it is starting to do so. Keys to this approach are blended finance and social-impact enterprises, which can both leverage and catalyse philanthropic capital in ways that traditional grant-making cannot.

For example, UBS Optimus Foundation and Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, a specialist non-profit, has developed the SDG Outcomes initiative. This works with governments, corporates and other outcomes funders to design, support and deliver SDG-aligned projects in low- and middle-income countries, particularly across Africa and Asia.

It uses an innovative blended-finance structure that sees UBS Optimus, funded by donations from over 30 UBS clients, providing 20 per cent first-loss capital to unlock further impact-driven capital. Any philanthropic funding returns are recycled into future projects.

SDG-linked themes are resoundingly supported by many of the new generations of philanthropists, such as Nachson Mimran, an entrepreneur, philanthropist and creative based in Switzerland. “I felt a shift in the conversations I was having with friends around dinner tables in about 2016.

People started asking questions about sustainability, climate change, poverty and global migration in the context of corporate social responsibility,” he says. “This happened to be around the time the UN launched its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

A year earlier, my brother Arieh and I had already launched to.org – a platform operating in venture capital, philanthropy and the creative space, focused on accelerating solutions to Earth’s most pressing challenges – and we were excited that collective attention was turning in a similar direction.

“I believe,” he continues, “that Millennials and Gen Z are having these conversations and beginning to think about integrating philanthropy into business much earlier in life than previous generations.

My personal belief is that the most successful businesses of the future will be those that choose to respond directly to several – and not just one – of the 17 SDGs.”

Different perspective, similar approach: James Chen is Chair of the Hong Kong-based Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, and espouses a risk-taking approach for philanthropic capital, which can then leverage the reach of international organisations.

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Rohyinga children, Kutupalong refugee settlement, Bangladesh, December 2017; photographed by Nachson Mimran

“Philanthropy has a storied history of success, and private donors have played a critical part in funding important social advances, both big and small,” says Chen. “But some of today’s global challenges need a different approach, one that requires time, expertise and investing in risk-taking entrepreneurial ideas.

It is an approach that I and others call ‘moonshot philanthropy’. Drawing on President John F Kennedy’s ambition to put a man on the moon, it is about more than just donating money; it’s about making a philanthropic investment in an ambitious venture that has the potential to catalyse system change.”

Noting that 2.5 billion people around the world are affected by poor vision, which adversely affects their education, health, work opportunities and gender equality, as well as productivity, Chen launched his Clearly campaign in 2016, backed by his family’s philanthropic capital, because, he says, philanthropic capital can afford to take a risk to lose capital where organisations like the World Bank and USAID can not, due to their strict accountability rules.

As well as funding technology and campaigns in developing countries, which have led to millions having consistent access to eyeglasses from childhood, Chen was a key mover behind the United Nations resolution, passed in 2021 and adopted by all 193 member countries, to ensure affordable eyecare for all by 2030.

Professional leadership and creating connections between the philanthropic sector and the private and public sectors is critical, according to Maya Ziswiler, CEO of UBS Optimus Foundation. “More and more philanthropists are telling us that having a passion for doing good is not enough and that they want to see measurable outcomes based on their action,” she says. “How can you take advantage of your passion with rational thinking to ensure you’re actually having an impact, and working with others to maximise that impact?

The problem isn’t that there is a lack of money out there; it’s making sure that the money becomes accessible and that the capital is pooled to scale impact. “When we become involved in a programme,” she continues, “we always think, what are the routes to sustainability and scale?

There are two ways you can make sure a programme is sustainable and will continue after philanthropists decide to exit, and that is either that a government takes it over, or businesses take it over. Philanthropists need to make sure that they have the right understanding of how those systems work and then build those relationships.” UBS’s Hall agrees that the leveraging of relationships between the sectors, and in the way philanthropy works, is essential, if the funding gap for Sustainable Development Goals, currently in the trillions, is to be closed. Even with the dramatic growth in philanthropic capital, private giving alone will not be able to do it.

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Girl collaborating with to.org, creative activists in a street-art, project, Libreville, Gabon, November 2018; photographed by Nachson Mimran

There are few more seasoned hands in the worlds of philanthropy and proven and effective sustainability than Julie Packard. The multiaccolade ocean conservationist is Vice Chair of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and co-founder and Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Her programmes, such as Seafood Watch and the Southeast Asia Fisheries and Aquaculture Initiative have been globally recognised game-changers for sustainability – across general education, consumption and the realignment of production to sustainable practices.

“Having served on the Packard Foundation board for 50 years now, I’ve seen a lot of change in philanthropy,” she says. “One is the natural trend to move from working on local-scale issues to global approaches, which focus on getting at the root causes of the problems we all aim to help solve. “Over time,” she adds, “our experience at the Packard Foundation has made it clear that we must be more equitable and inclusive in our relationships with the partners in whom we invest.

In the past, foundations – including ours – had a set of priorities, and we set out to find organisations whose own work matched those priorities. We’re working hard to get away from this top-down approach. Philanthropies are also, as we are doing, directing more funding to people and communities who have been historically excluded, so that they have seats at the table to design and implement solutions.

The philanthropic community has a lot to learn to shift our historical ways of working, so that all voices can be heard and we can best contribute to lasting positive change for all.

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Basket stars, seen at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Into the Deep” exhibition. Oceans produce the majority of the oxygen on the planet and life underwater is a massive carbon sink. Healthy oceans are essential for healthy and sustainable life on Earth

”Bringing private, public and philanthropic capital to work together through blended finance, social entrepreneurship and shared expertise, around conservation and sustainability, is a focus of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

It organises numerous forums around the blue economy and finance; hosts the annual Monaco Ocean Week conference, which brings together investors, entrepreneurs, NGOs, the public sector and philanthropic capital; and launched the €100 million ReOcean Fund in 2023 to accelerate, build and mobilise capital around the ocean economy. “The challenge of progressing planetary health is only possible through collective effort,” says Olivier Wenden, CEO and Vice Chair of the Foundation’s board of directors.

“This is why the Foundation’s action is based on a holistic and collaborative approach of global environmental issues. We aim to unite scientists, political leaders, economic players and representatives of civil society to maximise our positive impact.” Wenden cites its Ocean Innovators Platform, launched two years ago, as “a good example of how collaboration can accelerate positive change.

Putting together innovators with philanthropists and investors in the same room is a very powerful way to scale-up solutions.” Leveraging is also about human capital and expertise done effectively and entrepreneurially.

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Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Diébédo Francis Kéré, poses in front of The Throne, a portable toilet 3D printed using plastic medical waste, Switzerland, August 2021; photographed by Nachson Mimran

Read more: Alan Lau and Durjoy Rahman on the importance of art philanthropy

Ben Goldsmith, a British investor, conservationist and philanthropist, launched the Conservation Collective in 2020 from an existing conservation initiative. A hub and accelerator for conservation and sustainability action, it now encapsulates 20 independent philanthropic organisations around the world.

“Just as with venture capital, I have always thought that if every project is working, you’re probably not taking enough risk,” says Goldsmith. “All the challenges are the same as a startup; there are tremendous parallels between them. £1 of overhead at the umbrella charity creates around £12 for the underlying foundation. We’re not far away from having given away around £15 million and we’re also launching new foundations in Bermuda and Mauritius.

If you can create these local foundations, they become hubs of activity.” Agreeing with UBS’s Hall, Goldsmith says addressing root causes is fundamental. “There’s a tendency in environmental philanthropy to ‘provide service’. We don’t want to just fix things, we want to be funding groups who are striving to change the system.”

In terms of systemic change, Hall also speaks about the importance of addressing issues at their root, and overcoming built-in societal prejudices that can, for example, cause a black woman looking for startup capital for a social enterprise in Africa to be confronted with ruinous APR rates on a business loan. Mimran’s to.org funds significant social-impact investors in developing countries in Africa, with local expertise and global networks providing leverage and amplification that grant-making alone could never have provided.

Jessica Posner Odede knows all about creating lasting societal change in Africa. She is CEO of Girl Effect, a major international non-profit that works primarily in Africa and South Asia. Girl Effect uses media and technology to provide girls with tools that can change their lives, in terms of information, empowerment and education, in societies where women – half of the population – are deprived of opportunity, rights and the chance to play productive roles. Entrepreneurial thinking is essential for foundations, according to Odede.

“Look at consumer businesses,” she says. “You see millions of dollars and also time and energy spent on thinking about consumer journeys, marketing – how does somebody know their product or service? You would never launch a commercial venture without thinking through those user journeys, to see how to reach your customer. In philanthropy, there has been an assumption that people need certain things and will just use them.

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From the “Twilight’s Path” series by Jasper Goodall, whose images were shortlisted for the Photography Prize for Sustainability, created by UX in 2022. Investment in stewardship of land-based ecosystems contributes to biodiversity, which underpins sustainability

This has been a huge misconception and has resulted in a lot of ineffectiveness in terms of services utilised.” Odede says that in the African and South Asian countries that Girl Effect operates in, they ensure they know their end user. “We work very closely with health ministries, girls, parents and local health systems; we establish how you build diverse stakeholder collaboration in a way that is led by people designing the solutions who have also experienced the problems.”

So, was Stanford’s Rob Reich correct, back in 2018, to highlight how philanthropy was being challenged? He was, in some respects. But we can see how visionaries and effective players, old and new, are changing the game dramatically for the better.

As UBS’s Ziswiler says, “More and more we are seeing that billionaires see it as their responsibility to resolve global issues, and about 90 per cent of them are very serious about their philanthropy. But they are also realising that philanthropy alone can’t help us bridge the funding gap.

We have realised that philanthropy can be much more catalytic, it can take more risk, it can be more flexible.“The added benefit,” she says, “is that potentially money could be used more than once in a structure like that, because the potential for me to get my money back means I can redeploy it.

Not only is there more impact because more money is coming in and is being leveraged more effectively, there is also more impact because the money I was going to deploy once, I can now deploy again and again.” There are still caveats, though.

For example, there are no industry standard metrics to demonstrate effective and long-lasting causal change, which means measuring return on philanthropic investment utilises metrics and analyses that are often imperfect – even with the best intentions.

“The example of what good quality looks like here is in the health sector, where you need a clinical trial to bring your product and service to the market,’ says UBS’s Hall. “We don’t have that mandated in almost any other field.

It remains a challenge.” Like all of human endeavour, then, the world of philanthropy is flawed – but it is also irreplaceable and, through its recent evolutions, it is making an increasingly positive impact on the world by joining forces with other human creations. Humanity’s philanthropic journey will be long and potentially endless, but there is every reason, and an increasing amount of tools, to embark on it with the highest of rational expectations.

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George Condo shot this selfie and painted this logo and these coverlines for our cover. We see it as an ‘anti-cover’ – a reaction to the slick imagery created by magazines and now universally imitated by social media

George Condo has been redefining art for more than four decades. As he unveils a body of work titled “The Mad and the Lonely”, the artist speaks with Maryam Eisler about the human condition and society’s outcasts. Condo created this issue’s cover and logo for LUX, and showcases these paintings for the first time below

Maryam Eisler: Charles Bukowski once said, “Only the crazy and the lonely can afford to be themselves”. Would you agree?
George Condo: I would agree with Bukowski. However, I would say the mad and the lonely are perhaps more victims of their own internal circumstances, as opposed to having the choice to make that distinction.

back of a man painting in his studio, with an image of various faces

George Condo at work in his studio

ME: Would you consider madness and loneliness as necessary precursors to the act of creation?
GC: I don’t think so. I imagine the mad and the lonely as a state of mind that comes over the artist in moments of joy and happiness as well. Suddenly, without warning, the subconscious kicks in and drives him, or at least myself, into dark corners within me to bring out reflections, or rather observations of those disparate souls in life who have no choice but to be outcast or peripheral to the everyday working-class person, and are unable to function within the constraints of such boundaries. At which point, they become either homeless or simply rejected from society.

a man who is an artist looking directly at the viewer, drawn with pencil

George Condo, Illustration by Jonathan Newhouse

ME: Henry Miller once said, “The artist is always alone”. Are you mad and lonely? If so, is it by choice or by necessity?
GC: I am not mad and lonely. However, the portraits I paint are depictions of those who are. I like to take selfies, like the one on the LUX cover, because they make me laugh. Miller’s books always make me laugh as well. They are practically selfies in and of themselves.

Artwork created for LUX, 2024, by George Condo

ME: Have we become sad, lonely and angry as a society? Have we forgotten empathy? How would you propose saving us?
GC: I cannot save the world from its own extinction. We are the new dinosaurs living through the ice age, the cyber age, the world of disinformation and scam; a world at war within itself, like fires that keep popping up in various cultures – cultures that have been driven to believe in war against each other, a rather brutal form of extinction.

 

a painting of someone between a person and an animal

‘Acceptance’, 1989, by George Condo

 

ME: Sciences help us understand the natural world; social sciences help us measure human behaviour. Is culture alone capable of understanding the individual’s emotions?
GC: The emotional aspects of a child are the purest. Once the child becomes hardwired into various systems of belief, whether by political pressures or religious pressures passed to them by their elders, is when the trouble begins. The actual science of medicine and the science of research are subject to government regulations that perhaps aid the big pharmaceutical companies to continue to produce drugs. Many of the drugs they have produced previously have led to the need of the new drugs. For all we know, there has been a cure for dementia or cancer that has been held back from us for years. For all we know, it’s like trying to get to the truth about aliens. I don’t have an answer to that. I find that art is the truth; it is the only manmade representation of what one truly has to say and can believe in.

ME: How would you qualify the individual’s experience when they are confronted with a great artwork?
GC: I think the first feeling is one of great joy in seeing the remarkable impact of either colour or form or the way things are depicted and the spirit of an artist’s true beliefs.

 

A face coming out of a purple and blue background

‘Appearance’, 2023, by George Condo

 

ME: It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said that we consume culture to enlarge our hearts and minds. Would you agree that the very best of the arts induce humility and empathy?
GC: I would say Emerson was able to express some of the most beautiful essays ever written and I agree with everything he has said. His quotes from Aristotle are particularly amusing.

ME: Do you agree that art has the power to render sorrow into beauty, loneliness into a shared experience and despair into hope?
GC: I do agree with that. I believe it’s possible in art to turn that which is negative into positive, and that some of the most beautiful art is of the melancholic. One might find in the music of John Dowland in the early 17th century such beautiful and melancholic songwriting and ensemble music, such as ‘Lachrimae’, or ‘Seaven Teares’ as well as ‘A Pilgrimes Solace’, that it becomes transformative. This mood pervades throughout the arts, in painting as well, from this period. One might think of Caravaggio’s ‘Death of the Virgin’, which is currently at the Louvre.

 

a red nun, in a painting

‘The Red Nun’, 2017, by George Condo

 

ME: Dakis Joannou said, “If it doesn’t have psyche, it cannot be art”. How would you describe the psyche when it comes to your own art production?
GC: The psyche is an Ancient Greek expression and it still stands true. If the art does not have a mind of its own, irrespective of the viewers, it’s no good.

ME: Are you excited by your upcoming collaboration with Dakis Joannou’s Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art on the island of Hydra?
GC: I’m very excited, I’ve known Dakis for quite some time now. He is a very wise man with an extremely acute sense of aesthetics and imagination – even to have realised the Slaughterhouse as a place to show art tells you just how brilliant he is.

 

a blue face with brownish red wide eyes, pointy eyebrows and a long nose

‘Dark Facing Light’, 2023, by George Condo

 

ME: Does Hydra itself play a big part in this excitement? If so, why?
GC: Yes. This is a mythical island and it has all the elements of the ancient and modern times combined within one place.

ME: What are you hoping to achieve with this initiative?
GC: My hope is to somehow combine minimalism and figuration in one exhibition and to have a kind of dialectic experience take place: the cold and the warm coming together and liberating the constraints of both forms of art from being anything less than human.

a sculpture of a head

‘The Renegade’, 2009, by George Condo

ME: Would you say that this is a big departure stylistically and thematically from what you have produced in the past?
GC: This will be the first time I have worked in such a way as to focus the attention on the outcasts of society and glorify or rather dignify them in the context of a high-art experience.

ME: Where have you found your main sources of inspiration? Have these sources shifted in recent years or for the work you are about to present in Hydra?
GC: My art is always in flux with my imagination. I don’t necessarily draw or paint in a representational manner; it’s more an internal dialogue in my mind that is thrust onto the surface of a canvas to express my inner thoughts and feelings.

Caravaggio painting with red and heads and someone dying

‘The Death of the Virgin’, 1606, by Caravaggio (Fine Art/Alamy Stock Photo)

ME: What are you fascinated by these days? What do you abhor?
GC: Well, I am always fascinated by food, I must admit. I love to cook and try out new recipes or recreate things I’ve eaten that I really love. I even had such a great Greek lamb sandwich in Athens that I recreated the food-truck experience for Dakis here in New York and he loved it! I abhor war and suffering. I wish the wars would all end.

ME: What are your plans after Hydra?
GC: I will just come back home. My daughter is expecting a baby girl and I’m hoping to spend time babysitting!

George Condo’s exhibition “The Mad and The Lonely” is at the Deste Foundation Project Space Slaughterhouse, Hydra, Greece, 18 June-31 October 2024;

deste.gr

george-condo.com

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Reading time: 7 min

The greatest wine discoveries on the planet might just be from an Australian brand that has been hiding in plain sight. In a conversation and tasting with Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago, LUX has a revelation

The world of fine wine is a paradox that make things interesting – sits Penfolds, a one. Some of the greatest wines are household names: who hasn’t heard of Dom Pérignon or Château Lafite? Yet others of the same or even higher stature are almost secret; few outside a tiny circle of collectors know of the wines of Henri Jayer or Château Rayas.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

And even seasoned wine collectors and aficionados could be forgiven for being confused by the “origin paradox”. This is not a story of religion (although, given the fervency of arguments it generates, it could be), but of location. As ever wealthier collectors delve ever deeper into their passions, the specific vineyard sites of specific producers can see their produce sell for a multiple of the price of the vines next door, ostensibly making the same kind of wine from the same type of grapes on the same soil.

man

Chief Winemaker Peter Gago

Within this fascinating collectors’ maelstrom – and with wine, as with people, it’s the paradoxes that make things interesting – sits Penfolds, a producer at once revered for its super-premium collectable wines, and known for its good value everyday bottlings. Penfolds is a latticework of delicious paradoxes – a fine-wine world in itself. For example, it’s quite possible you will find a delicious, easy-drinking Penfolds red wine at a good metropolitan supermarket for the price of four oat chai lattes at Starbucks. Meanwhile, if you wanted to get your hands on a bottle of Penfolds g3, one of the producer’s most revered red wines, wine-searcher.com lists its average global price as around £18,500 (US$23,000) at the time of writing. Only 1,200 bottles were ever made. Even more extreme is Penfolds Ampoule, a glass and precious-metal decanter of one of its most rare wines, the Penfolds (monopole) 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon, of which only 12 were made, and which currently retails at around £127,000 (US$160,000) – if you can find one.

wines

A line-up of Penfolds classics

Penfolds’ slightly more abundant high-end wines, The Penfolds Collection, are celebrated by connoisseurs around the world: bottles such as Grange and Bin 707 sell for the same prices as the most prized châteaux from Bordeaux. The 2021 Yattarna, a Chardonnay, recently received a 100/100-points score from leading authority on Australian wine Andrew Caillard MW; like a super-luxe white Burgundy – Le Montrachet, say. For us, the most intriguing, and delicious (see tasting notes, opposite) Penfolds paradox is a development of the company’s different way of doing things. Grange, traditionally its most celebrated wine, made mainly of the Shiraz (Syrah) grape, has always been made from multiple vineyard sites across a vast area, in stark contrast to its counterparts in France, which are from tiny, specified vineyard plots.

Now, Penfolds has stretched that logic from Australia across countries and even continents: Penfolds II is a top-end Cabernet-Shiraz from Bordeaux and South Australia (in the same bottle). The company also now makes Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines in Napa, as well as making wines (in the Medoc/Bordeaux) with grapes sourced from across the Bordeaux region. Peter Gago, Chief Winemaker at Penfolds, says stretching the brand from the high end to the middle market is a deliberate, democratising strategy. “Luxury has many meanings to many different people – it’s a continuum,” he explains. “We mustn’t forget that this is Penfolds’ 180th year, and what we do at the top end has to permeate all the way down to entry-level wines. This is what sets us apart from other ‘luxury’ wines. I’m not saying I’m a socialist when it comes to luxury, but it’s not just for the chosen few, it’s for everyone to have a taste of. “What makes us unique is affordable luxury at one level, transcending to the 2012 Ampoule launched at the Baccarat Club in Moscow: courage coupled with quality.” Gago makes the point that Penfolds wines have rewarded investors in top-end wines as well as any of the world’s best: the Ampoule was launched at around £87,600 (US$110,000) 12 years ago, and one reportedly recently sold on the secondary market for around £130,400 (US$162,000).

Read more: Lewis Chester on Giacomo Conterno

room

The Grange Tunnel at the Magill Estate, which is just east of Adelaide

UK-born Gago has been Chief Winemaker at Penfolds for 22 years and moves and shakes with rock stars and Hollywood actors who revere the wines; but he is never happier than when talking about the wines. He enthuses about Penfolds’ continuing collaboration with Champagne Thiénot, which has seen the release of some highly acclaimed vintage Champagnes in its first five years, including the 2013 Penfolds X Champagne Thiénot Blanc de Noirs, which last year was awarded Best Blanc de Noirs Champagne in the world by a panel of experts compiled by tastingbook.com founder Pekka Nuikki. (Champagne, of course, can only be made in the Champagne region of France.) He also enjoys the challenges of making a great Pinot Noir to match the best of Burgundy like a great Chambertin or Vosne-Romanée. “Some say that Australian Pinot Noirs lack the complexity of Burgundy. With Cabernet and Shiraz, we’re competing at any level. For Pinot Noir, the journey continues,” says Gago. It’s a journey Penfolds has been taking for nearly two centuries, and one that Gago and his successors will no doubt savour. Meanwhile, the greatest wine discovery you may make this year could just be a wine from a brand that’s been hiding in plain sight.

king charles

King Charles and Queen Camilla (the then Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall) taste the 1962 Penfolds Bin 60A with Peter Gago in 2015, Milton Wordley Photography

Tasting notes by LUX

1 Penfolds Grange, 2019, South Australia – £600 (US$740)

The ne plus ultra of Penfolds wines (if you ignore the hyperwines at hyperprices), and often thought the world’s best Shiraz (Syrah). This is a complex philosopher of a wine, which reveals layer upon layer over an evening. This vintage is still at school; try to find one of university-graduation age.

2 Penfolds Bin 707, 2019, South Australia – £450 (US$555)

Bin numbers are essential to an understanding of Penfolds wines, and 707 is an eternally velvety Cabernet Sauvignon that is a world in itself. It
is neither slightly austere, like a Bordeaux, nor open, like many great new-world Cabernets. A restrained lusciousness, like a young Daniel Craig.

3 Penfolds Bin 704, 2019, Napa Valley – £60 (US$75)

A Napa Cabernet by an Australian company? Zut alors! We loved the subtle fanning of flavours – more a refined tap on the shoulder than a knockout punch. More Bogart than Stallone.

4 Penfolds II, 2019, Bordeaux/South Australia – £270 (US$335)

A French-Australian blend! Double zut alors!
This wine has the intensity of Simone de Beauvoir and the persistence and artistry of Shane Warne. And chapeau to Penfolds for even trying.

5 Penfolds Yattarna, 2021, Australia – £135 (US$165)

Garnered a perfect 100/100-point score from wine critic Andrew Caillard MW; rich yet levitatingly fresh, powerful yet delicate, quite unlike anything else – like Margot Fonteyn driving an F1 car.

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Reading time: 6 min
identical men in blue suits in a row with their arm our to shake a hand
A man sitting cross legged with a skull in his lap wearing a suit

Maurizio Cattelan
self-portrait created by the artist and Pierpaolo Ferrari for LUX

Maurizio Cattelan
, Italy’s most celebrated living artist, tells Darius Sanai about surrealism, failing at school, and why art can never be a commentary on society. Pencil Portrait by Jonathan Newhouse. Photographic portraits of Maurizio Catellan created for LUX by the artist

Italy’s greatest living artist – and one of Europe’s most celebrated artists of this century – is also something of a philosopher, if you read some of his sharp-tongued musings over the years; or, indeed, if you look at his art. Among Maurizio Cattelan
’s most celebrated creations are a solid-gold toilet and a very famous banana taped to a wall in an art fair (which was subsequently eaten by an art student).

Some of his work echoes Voltaire, with its artful, humorous but piercing satirisation of elements of our times – until you examine more closely and wonder what, exactly, is the target of his satire. His biannual magazine, Toiletpaper, which features beautiful, disturbing, engrossing images created with his collaborator, the photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, could be seen as surreal, satirical or something else entirely.

Speaking with Cattelan is how I imagine it would be like to be toyed with by a mischievous octopus. You think you have an idea of an answer, and then another leg curls round your head from behind and tweaks your ear. The son of a truck driver and a cleaner, with no formal training in art, Cattelan did not shine at school: a million parents around the world would have been forgiven for assuming this son of Padua, northern Italy, was destined not to do anything with his life.

A drawing of a man

Illustration of Maurizio Cattelan
by Jonathan Newhouse, 2023

And yet his blue-collar parents produced one of the most sophisticated, thoughtful and intelligent artists I have met; and also one of the hardest to pigeonhole. He is not, by his own admission, a painter. Is he a sculptor? An installation artist? A surrealist? What kind of art is a banana taped to the wall, or any of the works he has created on these pages (and on our cover) for LUX? Is he really what his art suggests he is, a mix of Marcel Duchamp, Monty Python and Andy Warhol?

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

After some brain-scrambling and highly entertaining and engaging exchanges, I think I have the answer. But why don’t you read our interview below and come to your own conclusions. Like mine, they will probably be wrong, for Cattelan is a playful yet deadly serious chimera who, as his elementary-school teachers probably said, can never quite be pinned down.

Darius Sanai: Your parents were not in the art world. That must have made it difficult for you to enter the art scene. Did you meet any resistance?
Maurizio Cattelan
:
Resistance is not the right word to describe it. The difference between people lies only in their having greater or lesser access to economic possibilities and knowledge, and in being successful in accessing these two elements when the starting conditions do not allow it. All the choices that I have made are aimed at seeking that access. I am a devotee of free will much more than of destiny: in this sense, the Catholic religion has had no influence on me, while the Lutheran heresy is much more in my comfort zone. I am convinced that destiny is nothing but the sum of our choices. Regarding what my parents would have thought of me being an artist, I was lucky enough not to discover it.

DS: What did you want to do when you were at school?
MC: My childhood was not an easy one, but it was not special at all – I share this burden with many people before and after me, who suffered from the same condition. The first memory I have from school was a suspension in first grade. It was an agitated, very proletarian class. I don’t remember why but the teacher wrote in the notebook that I shouldn’t show up the next day. My parents were meant to sign the note from the teacher, but I spent a whole day imitating my parents’ signatures so as not to face their judgment and punishment. They never found out. Also, the report card never arrived at my parents’, because I kept forging their signatures.

A man's head looking worried surrounded by his head in green and yellow around him

Maurizio Cattelan
self-portrait created by the artist and Pierpaolo Ferrari for LUX

DS: You had no formal art training. Does this mean that a great artist needs no training?
MC: Not at all, but it was true for me–art training would have made me give up. The most distressing gift I ever received was a painter’s kit: it had everything I needed to paint, and I had no idea how to use it. It was a year at home that reminded me how inadequate I was as a painter, or at working with my hands in general. It was really frustrating: they were tools that I wanted to try but at the same time I knew I wasn’t able to master them.

DS: You are a satirist, a disruptor. Why?
MC: Please, you tell me, because I feel like the most boring person I know!

DS: Is your art a commentary on society?
MC: Not at all. I’ve always believed that if something can be reduced to one clear concept, it is as sure as hell artistically dead. Art has no direct and unique intent, otherwise it is a problem that has already been resolved, and there’s nothing interesting in this. So, you’ll never hear me affirming a show has one single objective – otherwise, it would be simple advertising. Art is good for you as long as you make whatever you want out of it.

DS: Is one of your aims to create discomfort in those viewing your art? If so, why?
MC: I promise you I have no such nasty aim. I do what I do to deal with my problems, if they create discomfort it is not something planned deliberately. I simply can’t help it.

identical men in blue suits in a row with their arm our to shake a hand

Maurizio Cattelan
self-portrait created by the artist and Pierpaolo Ferrari for LUX

DS: Who are your forebears? Duchamp? Picasso?
MC: The maximum I can say is that I sometimes dream about finding a bear in my closet. I’m not sure if it is its dimensions or its teeth, but it is quite scary. Imagine if I also had fore-bears!

DS: What effect would you like your art to have on the world?
MC: I would not ask this question in these terms: a flower blooms because its time came, not because there is a reason or effect it can forsee. Similarly, it happens with art, design and all forms of innovation: they happen when the time tis right, it is as simple as this.

DS: Does it trouble you that only the wealthy can buy art that is considered “great” now? What is the relationship between art and its price?
MC: Artworks, art institutions and the art market are linked together, as they form an indissoluble chain that allows the machine to work. Experience teaches us that light cannot exist without darkness and that an ecosystem cannot be balanced if a prey doesn’t have its predator: this is also the case in the art world.

DS: Does it not trouble you that many great works, including yours, are locked in private collections? What can be done to change this (except a revolution)?
MC: It would trouble me if the collectors has no interest in showing them, but since it is in their own interest to show them around as it would increase their value, I don’t see a big issue there. Wise collectors assemble collections that are not purely speculative, and they can be the best companion for an artist. They can help a lot in developing and giving birth to what you have in mind: the fact that you can dream about something because a collector is supporting you opens an entire world of possibilities.

A banana taped to the wall

Comedian, 2019, by Maurizio Cattelan

DS: Is revolution a good idea?
MC: It is always a good idea when it’s performed, and not spoken.

DS: Can you describe how you create a work, from inspiration to completion?
MC: My favourite part is the ideation, then I prefer to let others take care of the practicalities, as realisation is a sea I can’t navigate. My contribution is the initial one: the conception of a work is the most interesting part for me, everything is new and exciting. The more you get into the practical phase, the more impatient I become to start with another one: I don’t like the things I already know.

DS: You have said all decoration is disturbing; and yet you have Toiletpaper Home, a homewares line. Should home decoration be disturbing also?
MC: Did I say so? Maybe I was referring to my place; that is totally empty. But I love to think that Toiletpaper images could be applied to home decoration – it has always been a project that knows no limit.

DS: Are you a surrealist? A sensationalist? Absurdist? Or any other kind of “ist”?
MC: I am a 1-ist of contradiction.

A man hanging from a green bathroom

You, 2021, by Maurizio Cattelan
at Massimo de Carlo, Milan, 2022

DS: Is there a morality, a commentary on the human condition or society in your works?
MC: I believe I already answered this, but just to be clear: art should not have a straightforward , unique clear message, otherwise it is advertising.

DS: You have said that if you have been able to amke good art, it’s because of your flaws. What are those?
MC: Le me answer as if I was in a job interview: I’m a perfectionist.

DS: What are your best works of art?
MC: Only time will tell.

DS: Should the banana have been eaten?
MC: Only if next time the peel and tape are also eaten.

The Guggenheim building with items hanging from the ceiling to the floor

Installation view of ALL, 2011, by Maurizio Cattelan
, at Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2011

DS: What role do you think shock value plays in contemporary art?
MC: I wish for every artist’s work to be incendiary, and to never satisfy expectations. In the latter case, it is a style exercise and a waste of time, both for the artist and for the audience.

DS: Your recent collaboration with Gucci explores appropriation and originality. How important is it to be original in the art world today?
MC: Culture has been rewritten many times from many different points of view. If we look at history, copying has been the method of disseminating knowledge as much as in the contemporary world: scribes copied books to ensure future generations had the same knowledge and to preserve their culture over the centuries. A few years earlier, the Romans copied Greek sculptures, as today we copy the great classics and see them in souvenir shops. Copying is a concept as old as humanity, because it is the presupposition of knowledge tout court.

Read more: An Interview with William Kentridge

DS: What about Longchamp, what are you doing there?
MC: It’s a collaboration, a capsule that witnesses the marriage between Longchamp and Toiletpaper. I am looking forward to discovering what the result will be.

DS: Are you a Voltaire of the art world?
MC: You tell me, as I’m not sure of who I am in general, never mind in the art world!

three men standing together

Darius Sanai with Maurizio Cattelan
and Pierpaolo Ferrari

DS: Which artists, living or dead, do you admire most?
MC: All those who did what they did under a sense of urgency.

DS: What or who is overrated in the art world?
MC: All those who did what they did NOT under a sense of urgency.

DS: Will you create digital art?
MC: I’d rather not, I’m far too old for that.

The Longchamp x Toiletpaper Le Pliage collection is at Longchamp stores and lonchamp.com. A limited-edition issue of Toiletpaper features the collaboration.

toiletpapermagazine.org

Photographer: Pierpaolo Ferrari
Art Director: Antonio Colomboni
Set Designer: Michela Natella
Set Builder: Lorenzo Dispensa
Hair and Makeup: Lorenzo Zavatta
Stylist: Elisa Zaccanti

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 10 min
A woman wearing a white dress standing in a garden
A woman wearing a white dress standing in a garden

French actress and singer Stéfi Celma

Paris-born actor and singer Stéfi Celma, who plays the ambitious receptionist in Call My Agent, on her cultural inspirations, social- media advice and dealing with racism

LUX: When did your passion for music start?
Stéfi Celma: Very early- it was as if I could sing before I could speak. My father found a little audio tape I made, so I have the proof.

LUX: What types of music have influenced you?
SC: I would say Latin music, Afromusic, French chansons and hip-hop. I also remember, as a child, discovering Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2. her voice really affected me. Later, I listened over and over to her album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

LUX: What do you do to relax and disconnect?
SC: I have lived in Brussels for a few years and I’ve developed a real passion for antique collecting – the city has some real treasures. I love spending time at the flea market in Place du Jeu de Balle, just doing my thing. It is a good area to discover if you are passing through Brussels.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What are your favourite restaurants and cafés in Paris to take a visitor?
SC: I’m not really up to date on good restaurants in Paris, but I do know a few in Brussels. If you pass by, I really like Le P’tit Chouia En +, a delicious Moroccan restaurant in rue de la Pacification. Certo Faim et Soif in rue Longue Vie is a quite simple restaurant, with original dishes that change every week. Boentje Café, in Place Colignon, offers beautiful fresh products, has a zero-waste approach and makes delicious little dishes.

LUX: What has been you favourite memory of playing Sofia in the TV comedy-drama Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent)?
SC: The whole Dix Pour Cent adventure has been incredible – it’s been a real learning experience and I have met great people. But the scene that really comes to mind is the shooting of the theatre scene in episode 3 season 1. I perform the song Qui, which I also covered on my EP. It particularly touches me and is an important scene for my character.

A woman standing in a garden holding onto a wall with one arm and plants around her

Celma is best known for her role as Sofia in Dix pour cent (Call My Agent)

LUX: Have you ever experienced any racism or sexism in the industry?
SC: I have not experienced racism in the artistic world any more than I have elsewhere. I would even say that my experience has been better in the industry and that I have been encouraged to affirm my identity in the. projects I have been involved in. When I started, I did hear things like, “They are not looking for a black person for this role”, where colour was not a subject in the project. Luckily, that didn’t happen often.

LUX: What do you think of social media?
SC: For discovering artistic talent and for ease of communication it is brilliant. I also really like Facebook groups that help me to look for antiques and give a second life to things – I am very touched by that kind of approach. But I think social media takes up so much space in our lives and we have to know how to slow down and discipline ourselves. Easier said than done…

Read more: Alia Al-Senussi and Durjoy Rahman on art and cultural soft power

LUX: Are there musicians you would particularly like to work with?
SC: I have has the opportunity to be surrounded by great artists every day. I am blown away by the singer-songwriter Matthieu Chedid, who I have seen on stage many times, and the singer and actress Yael Naim. My favourite album at the moment is Hamza’s latest, Sincèrement. It is hard-hitting but also very free-form.

LUX: What advice would you give to young international actors?
SC: To try and stay true to themselves, whatever happens.

LUX: What were you doing before our interview this morning?
SC: I was looking after my baby daughter, who is eight months old.

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 3 min
A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York
A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Nomad by Martin Brudnizki bring guests to the skies of New York

Martin Brudnizki and Bruno Moinard are two of the most celebrated names in interior architecture and design today. Here, Brudnizki takes LUX on a grand tour of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio’s most recent projects, while Moinard shares his design inspiration and creative process

Martin Brudnizki

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton new York, Nomad
With Nubeluz located on the 50th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, our concept for its interior was to create a star in the New York sky. The project’s core is a central backlit onyx bar, and the surfaces are designed to reflect its lighting. A high-gloss lacquer ceiling, a marble floor, mirrored and onyx tables, plus six statement brass saucer chandeliers ensure that light bounces around the room in a magical way.

A man sitting with this hands to his chin at a bar

Martin Brudnizki

The colour scheme takes the project from lightbox to jewel box with a teal envelope to the walls, floor and ceiling, highlighting the coral seating in its luxurious mohair and flame stitch-patterned fabrics. We didn’t want to disrupt the views, so sheer teal-trimmed roman blinds hang across the windows. Our interior is a celebration of light and the city, referencing the classic hotel bar and saluting the views over an iconic skyline. It is modern and quintessentially New York.

nubeluzbyjose.com

Hôtel Barrière Fouquet’s New York
This is the illustrious French five-star hotel brand’s first foray into the US. In Paris it is located on the Champs-Élysées, so you might think its natural New York home would be the Upper East Side, but its team chose Tribeca – a decision I love. Our design challenge was to combine a distinctly Parisian ambience with a downtown location.

A brown and red bar with velvets and wood

Hôtel Barrièrre Fouquet’s New York by Martin Brudnizki brings the iconic Parisian hotel to Paris

We have brought together high glamour and elegance in a modern, timeless design, while leaning on the building’s loft-style architecture that blends seamlessly into the Tribeca landscape. Parisian design accents can be found in the rich materiality and colour palettes, while a carefully curated art collection, featuring many local artists, has a gritty urban appeal.

hotelsbarriere.com/en/collection-fouquets/new-york

Vesper Bar at The Dorchester, London
With this project, it was important to respect the past while bringing it to a new era. We were inspired by celebrated Roaring Twenties creatives, such as Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel, who each had a history with The Dorchester.

Two green chairs next to a wooden table and wooden wall

Vesper Bar at the Dorchester by Martin Brudnizki

Their inspiration was integral to the spirit of this landmark bar. We also nodded to designer Syrie Maugham in our use of the mirrored columns. The hope is that the Vesper Bar inspires another Roaring Twenties.

dorchestercollection.com

Mother Wolf, LA
Situated off Sunset Boulevard, Mother Wolf is a playful Italian restaurant that has become a magnet for LA celebrities since its opening in 2022. Working with chef Evan Funke and Ten Five Hospitality, we created a homage to the glamour and elegance of Italian design.

A room with green plants and red leather furniture and mirrored walls

Mother Wolf, LA by Martin Brudnizki

References to architects Gio Ponti and Carlo Scarpa can be found in the dining chairs and central bar, while a trompe-l’oeil scene depicts lemons and pomegranates – an ode to Italy’s chic riviera. With its Murano-glass lighting, antique mirrors and Siena-marble table tops, every aspect of the restaurant’s interiors connects to the design heritage of Italy.

motherwolfla.com

Bruno Moinard

I am guided by lines, materials, light, energy and movement: whether in my work as an architect – in our projects around the world with Claire Bétaille for famous brands and high-profile clients – or in my more intimate work as a designer and painter.

A man standing amongst blue paintings in a studio

Bruno Moinard in his studio amongst his paintings

When I began to appreciate beautiful old cars – and I have three mythical English models – I saw their design is a distillation of everything that makes me vibrate in my creative process. I see these qualities in the bodywork, the leather, wood and chrome, the colours, the interplay between interior and exterior, the vision of the future in front of me and of the road travelled behind.

A red and white lobby with flowers hanging on pillars a large chandelier hanging over a rug

Interiors of Hôtel Plaza Athénee lobby, Paris by Bruno Moinard

So the challenge I set myself is to work with authenticity to evoke an emotion, to give a simple pleasure and generate unique sensations. This is luxury. It has nothing to do with glitz or so-called rarity.

A hallway with a marble floor and staircase

Hôtel du Marc lobby, Reims by Bruno Moinard

So in the cellars of Clos de Tart, a 1,000-year-old Burgundy vineyard with a Cistercian history, we built on the exceptional quality of the historic building, bringing light into the space, giving it life, to place it in harmony with the pure elegance of the wines.

A dark dining room with a chandelier hanging over the table

Hôtel du Marc dining room by Bruno Moinard

In “Résonance”, my recent exhibition in Paris, we made each painting an experiential space that I invited people to enter. My recent furniture collections also seek this sense, which has a direct impact on quality of life and on the welcoming nature of a space.

A living room with cream and grey furniture and a blue painting on the wall

One Monte-Carlo living room, Monaco by Bruno Moinard

My lights, furniture, carpets and objects bring freshness and softness with natural forms and materials. I am privileged to work in complementary fields and my inspiration in both is based on the same triptych of emotion, continuity and sustainability, while promoting the finest workmanship and expertise.

brunomoinardeditions.com

moinardbetaille.com

brunomoinardpeinture.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 5 min
A coastline
green weeds at the bottom of the sea

Seaview Seagrass, Solent, Isle of Wight, UK, image by photographer and marine biologist Theo Vickers. © Theo Vickers

As sea levels rise due to global warming, there are tremendous challenges for the environment, coastal communities and global supply chains. Mark Rowe reports and discovers ideas, initiatives and infrastructure measures to help stem the tide

The sea is on the rise. All around the world, over the past 100 years, sea levels have risen by up to 25cm. And they are expected to rise by a further one metre in the next 80 years. The main driver of this increase is climate change, caused by humans pumping carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

This is driving sea-level rise through one reason everyone is aware of: melting ice bodies like glaciers and polar ice caps. What is less evident is that, even if all the permanent ice in the world were to melt, oceans would continue to rise as long as temperatures did, due to the physics of thermal expansion: warm water occupies more volume.

A woman wearing glasses and a shirt

Dr Joanne Williams

“We can’t reverse what has already happened,” says Dr Joanne Williams of the UK’s National Oceanography Centre. Science, in the form of thermal lags, means sea-level rises are inexorable. Water warms slowly, so, due to deep ocean heat uptake, sea levels will rise for centuries, whatever we do. “The heat is already in the ocean, the rises are locked in,” Williams continues. “But if we act now, it costs less in the long term and we can plan without having to rush. It’s easier to adapt.”

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

In a 2021 report, “Coastlines in Crisis”, by Deutsche Bank Private Bank’s Markus Müller, ESG Chief Investment Officer, and Daniel Sacco, Investment Officer, the authors cautioned that “rising sea levels will put coastal populations and critical economic assets under increasing stress… substantial population displacement is not an unlikely scenario”. These are not abstract observations, and they highlight the challenges, including the human cost.

A man wearing a black top and blazer

Dr Philipp Rode

Most of the world’s populations live by water. Around one in 10 of us live less than 10 metres above sea level and 70 per cent of the world’s largest cities are in low-lying coastal areas. Roughly 40 per cent of the US population lives in coastal cities. So communities, as well as their infrastructure, trade and buildings, both residential and commercial, are all at risk, making the adoption of adaptation planning even more of a priority. As Dr Philipp Rode, Executive Director of LSE Cities, puts it, “How sub-Saharan African cities will cope is very unclear. But the story of people being forced to move because it is too risky and too expensive to live there any more is one we will hear more and more.”

“The ways in which people are vulnerable varies,” says Williams. She cites Bangladesh, where a one-metre rise would shrink the country by one-third. “Bangladeshi people are used to flooding, but in the future it will happen more often, go further upriver and affect more farmland.” Much of the farming hinterland near Williams’s own city, Liverpool, in the UK, is at coastal level. “Not a lot of people live there,” she says, “but that’s a lot of food production at risk.”

It is apparent, then, that threats from sea-level rise affect more even than coastal ecosystems and coastal communities. They affect everyone through global economics in terms of agriculture, infrastructure, real estate, tourism and global trade. And all this affects the Global North as well as the Global South, the Netherlands as well as the Maldives.

This is because critical national infrastructure, most obviously ports, but also electricity and nuclear power stations, electricity cables, and gas and sewage pipes, are often located on the coasts. Twelve of the biggest US airports are built on coastal areas, and nearly one-third of US GDP relied on the coastal economy, employing almost 55 million people in 2016. It is estimated that 20 per cent of global GDP could be threatened by coastal flooding by the end of the century. Our seas handle 90 per cent of global trade and that means if ports get battered, then cargo – from plastic toys to grain consignments – will get tangled up with knock-on effects.

Yellow and green weeds at the bottom of the sea

An Island’s Wild Seas, the Needles, Isle of Wight, UK, image by photographer and marine biologist Theo Vickers. © Theo Vickers

In the Global South, particularly, effects on sectors such as agriculture and tourism will be especially disruptive, as developing countries are most reliant on them. Saltwater inundation from flooding contaminates freshwater aquifers, making agriculture difficult, threatening food supply and making water no longer potable. That spells trouble for the people of Suriname, where almost three-quarters of the population lives five metres below sea level and most of its fertile agricultural land lies on the coastal plain. The Maldives’ highest point is just two metres above sea level, and, while it performs well compared to its small island peers, tourism accounts for almost one-third of its economy, making its people extremely vulnerable to rising sea-level shocks.

“Rising seas will not see cities sink slowly, millimetre by millimetre beneath the waves. Instead, changes are complex and abrupt,” says Rode. “Sea-level rises make other things worse. If you get a combination of flash floods, storm surges, high winds and high tides, the peak height of impacts will hit places harder. The higher sea levels are, the harder it is to get floodwater from heavy rain out of a city.”

Society does not have a great track record of awareness, let alone action, when small communities, or those from the Global South, are involved. Barranquilla is the fourth largest city in Colombia, with a population of 2.4 million. Located next to the Magdalena River, near the Caribbean Sea, it is a major port. But because of mismanagement and lack of investment in water infrastructure – it has no rainwater drainage systems, for example – it is highly vulnerable to floods and landslides. When the city floods, and it does, the roads turn into dangerous, fast- flowing rivers, sweeping away cars – and people. Sea-level rise is set to compound the situation, and while there is a push for legislation and some agreement to avoid disaster, there is no clear plan, resulting in stressed infrastructure, increased food shortages and poor, often Afro-Colombian communities, displaced to informal slums.

While the residents of Barranquilla still wait for change, the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System was created in New Orleans right after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is the most costly flood-control system on earth and one of the biggest public-works projects in US history. Governments around the world are becoming increasingly conscious of the risks of sea-level rise and are progressively implementing adaptation measures. Shanghai’s authorities place a high value on these because, by 2050, the city is predicted to endure floods and rainfall 20 per cent higher than the global average. To lessen its vulnerability to rising sea levels, the city has built 520 kilometres of defensive seawalls. The OECD warns against complacency, however. Solutions are out there, but they will need to come hand in hand with the regulation and business climate that allows them to become viable commercially.

A man with dark curly short hair wearing glasses

Guy Michaels

Grey or technological solutions are often the direct go-to approach. London, which is estimated to have a water level increase of up to two metres in a low-emissions scenario, has its retractable barrier system, begun in 1974 and in operation since 1982. “And London can always get the Thames Barrier to do a bit more lifting,” says Guy Michaels, Associate Professor of Economics at the LSE’s Department of Economics. “In New York, which is 10 metres above sea level, you can think of ways to potentially close off the harbour.”

Tokyo created a spectacular solution in 2006. The G-Cans flood project is a huge cathedral-like underground cavern supported by 59 towering pillars. Permeable surfaces and a network of pipes divert floodwaters to a reservoir, before being slowly released to the Edo river. The price tag was more than US$2 billion and costs for defending infrastructure along other coastal cities are similarly eye-watering. “You can build defences higher, but there comes a point where you have to ask whether costs justify the outcomes,” says Williams. “When you get a one in 100-year flood, people build back. But what if that event happens again the next year, and then the year after that?”

This is where nature-based solutions come in. While many cities in advanced economies – those, remember, primarily responsible for climate change – have the means to protect themselves through technological solutions, the picture is different in the Global South, says Rode, where emphasis is more on adaptation. Barrier islands, vegetated dunes, coastal wetlands, mangrove forests and reefs are examples of natural barriers to protect shorelines.

They provide several advantages in addition to flood protection, including carbon sequestration, biodiversity restoration, fish nurseries, cultural heritage, recreational activities, tourism and spiritual benefits. Crucially for the Global South, they can be quickly adapted to the real pace of sea-level rise. Planting mangroves can lower wave heights by 71 per cent or more.

Mangroves originally lined tens of thousands of kilometres of coastlines around the world; previously mistakenly seen by humans as a type of coastal weed that could be destroyed for development, they are a good example of the upside potential of mitigation. Properly managed, mangroves store immense amounts of carbon and support a rich ecosystem of biodiversity, as well as protecting the developments on the coasts they have previously been cut from. They survive in a variety of climates and in brackish water, and planting mangroves can provide carbon credits.

Meanwhile, studies in the UK have shown how fringes of saltmarsh 40 metres wide can reduce wave height by nearly 20 per cent; at 80 metres, waves reduce to near zero. Nature-based solutions also give quick returns: estimates for annual flood-damage reduction from coral reefs exceed US$400 million for Cuba, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines alone.

Fresh, innovative approaches to protect urban areas include creating holistic “sponge cities”, which absorb heavier rainfall. After a cloudburst in 2011 inundated Copenhagen’s main trauma hospital and caused US$1.04 billion of damage, the Danish government redesigned infrastructure to make roads and pavements more permeable, while using nature-based solutions to plant grass and lay soil to better absorb rain.

Information-gathering to facilitate decision-making is key. Many countries use Lidar, a remote sensing method that pulsates laser light across coastal areas to measure elevation on the Earth’s surface. Australia’s web portal CoastAdapt provides mapping software, coastline morphological information, guidance for decision-making in coastal climate adaptation, and local and international case studies. France, meanwhile, is one country using a combination of a tech-based approach to monitor and evaluate its progress to date, and using that to recommend the elaboration of nature-based solutions and proposals to spatially reshape coastal areas.

A coastline

The artificial peninsula whose sand, as it erodes, protects the natural beaches near The Hague © Craig Corbett

The Netherlands, with 25 per cent of land below sea level and scarred by the North Sea flood of 1953, is widely considered the gold standard, with a creative approach combining monitoring, preparation, and grey- and nature- based engineering. “It did a lot of learning, a lot of thinking,” says Michaels. Anticipating sea-level rises of one metre by 2100, its measures have included the 2003 US$70 million reconstruction project to protect The Hague by raising a dyke 10 metres above the mean water level in Amsterdam and depositing 2.4 million cubic meters of dredged sand along Scheveningen Beach, which pushed the ocean back 50 metres from the shoreline.

Meanwhile, the necessary shift to a more sustainable economy offers the opportunity to restructure many firms and their manufacturing processes. Physical damage to facilities as a direct consequence of flood events or other weather extremes interrupt production and make it hard for employees to show up at work. It makes sense that forward-thinking companies across the globe are preparing for climate change by investing in resilient structures that can resist storms, severe winds and flooding.

Coastal cities may have to be radically redesigned or risk becoming “misshapen”, as Michaels puts it. “Inland cities have development that radiates from a central business district in all directions,” he says. “For coastal cities this is not an option. Rising sea levels will further distort the shape of coastal cities, leading to them becoming misshapen and significantly lengthening the costs of commuting to work.”

Michaels is struck by how stubborn communities can be. “Between 1990 and 2010 we saw development increase by 26 per cent in city blocks prone to sea-level rises on the US east and Gulf coasts,” he says. “That was alarming. We assumed people would avoid building there – the exact opposite happened.”

Read more: YKK America’s CEO Jim Reed on creating sustainable products for less 

Thumbing a nose at climate science only partly explains this, suggests Michaels. “If you assume people have good foresight but still do it, then they’re building in riskier locations because that’s where the jobs are. It’s a trade-off.” Is there a link to the politicisation of climate change? “People who are least aware of climate change can be the most willing to take on risk,” he says, citing politically sceptical Florida. “Miami is at ground zero. The coast is long, low-lying and very vulnerable. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a wide acceptance of what is happening and many locals regard most events as ‘nuisance’ flooding.”

What will trigger meaningful long- term, joined-up action? “Disasters recede into the background quite quickly,” says Michaels. “Maybe that changes if we get a Hurricane Sandy or a Katrina every year.” Williams is more optimistic. “I see people putting the effort in. It’s important not to say things are impossible, otherwise people ask why they or their government should bother taking any steps.” Rode reckons a more fundamental societal shift is required. “Free-riding, the good life as we know it, goes far beyond levels of consumerism that are healthy for the planet. Maybe we need to rediscover the mundane, then decide whether what’s really meaningful in life is that your local river is clean enough to swim in.”

Find out more:

deutschewealth.com/dam/deutschewealth/cio-

perspectives/cio-special-assets/coastlines-in-crisis

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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Reading time: 12 min
A man and woman standing next to each other in black and white

A man and woman standing next to each other in black and white

Princess Alia Al-Senussi is a key figure in the development of cultural relationships between the West and the Global South, and in the growth of the art scene in Saudi Arabia. In a conversation moderated by LUX’s Leaders and Philanthropists Editor, Samantha Welsh, Alia Al-Senussi speaks with South Asian philanthropist and collector Durjoy Rahman about significant art world debates and developments at the nexus of the developed and developing worlds

LUX: Durjoy, is the relationship between art in the Global South and the rest of the world changing?

Durjoy Rahman: I have been collecting for the over 25 years, and I have always been passionate about creativity, both personally and professionally. Living in Dhaka, I have realised there is a lot of untapped creativity that can probably be moulded and presented to a wider audience, to increase visibility, benefitting Bangladesh, South Asia and, in a bigger picture, the Global South.

These days there is a very fashionable phrase: “Your West is my East”. What one person calls “West” is actually somebody else’s “East”. It depends on the position you are coming from. I have asked many scholars, and no one has been able to give me a clear definition of what the “Global South” is. I think the geopolitical or geographical definition has different meanings and narratives and I expect plenty of discourse and redefinition during the next decade.

LUX: Alia, what has your global vision of the art world been informed by?

Alia Al-Senussi: I came to the art world from a very established position, in the heart of London, so my view has been shaped by the Western perspective, an institutional perspective, a gallery art world ecosystem perspective.

I was very lucky to enter the art world at a time when these perspectives were changing. Tate Modern had just opened and revolutionised the way that we put art in context. There is no longer the “South Asian gallery”, the “Middle Eastern gallery” or the “Asian gallery”.

 A woman wearing a black dress and orange head scarf standing next to a large rock in a desert

Alia Al-Senussi in AlUla, Saudi Arabia. She is a Senior Advisor, Arts, and Culture, to the Ministry of Culture in Riyadh

It was about showing art in conversation with itself, through the eyes of a subject, subject matter, or a generational perspective, rather than a geographical one. And, ever since, as much as I’m in the art world, my perspective on the art world is not as an art historian. It is very much about somebody looking at art, strategy and cultural strategy through the perspective of cultural diplomacy, soft power and how culture interacts with the art world ecosystem, but also very much with identities, governments and politics.

LUX: Alia, how have you noticed the art world changing in the Middle East?

AAS: My work in the Middle East started in 2007, when Art Dubai started. In the last five years, we’ve seen a rapid evolution in the Middle East, positive developments in Saudi Arabia, and Dubai becoming, in many ways, a platform for art from the Global South.

LUX: What do you think is the role of philanthropy in art. Does it engage, facilitate and shape discourse?

DR: This is what DBF is all about. From day one our approach has been very discursive, and we try to position our strategies in a very discursive manner.

For example, we work with photographers like Sunil Gupta, whose retrospective involved queer art. On the other side of the coin, we work with Wadham College of Oxford University, restoring the Holy Qurans, which we announced during the month of Ramadan.

My philosophy towards philanthropic activities and my involvement in the foundation is to challenge negative perceptions. It’s not only about Bangladesh, but the whole perception of South Asia, that I am trying to change through the activities that DBF undertakes. This is why we don’t only focus our activities in Southeast Asia but globally, be it in Europe or America.

A man wearing a white shirt and black vest standing next to a green sofa and a large yellow painting behind him

Durjoy Rahman is a philanthropist and collector based in Dhaka, Bangladesh

LUX: Alia, could you share with us your belief about the role of art and philanthropy?

AAS: I think it is at the very heart of changing perception. I have a deep belief in – as Durjoy said – the power of culture to change people’s minds and perceptions. And I’m not just talking about the West, I mean: it’s even neighbour to neighbour.

For example, we’ve seen black art in the United States transform people’s perceptions of BLM and people’s perceptions of segregationist history. You walk around the Tate galleries, and you see two paintings facing each other in the room about conflict and war. One is about the pogroms in Eastern Europe, and one is about the massacres at Sabra and Shatila [of Palestinian refugees by Christian militias during the Lebanese Civil War in 1982]. These speak to exactly the same universal horrors that many people experience but are from two very different conflicts and parts of the world.

LUX: What responsibility or soft power do you feel you have?

AAS: I feel a deep sense of personal and professional responsibility. In any projects that I get involved in or commit to, I pay a lot of attention to professionalism. I teach a lot and one of the questions I often get asked is, “How do I get involved in the art world? How do I start my career?” I say, “Get involved, show up.”

I think the idea of showing up is really important. Someone invites you to something, go. Someone expects you to be at something, be there. Someone expects you to respond to your emails, respond; and I think that idea of showing up really illustrates a commitment to people.

LUX: What is soft power for you, Durjoy? How can you and/or art bridge discourse?

DR: Everybody wants to understand art. Even Picasso said, “Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the songs of a bird?”

An artwork from the Bhumi project, supported by the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation that was shown at the Kochi Biennale in India in 2022/23

When I invite people to an art show and they say that “Well, we don’t understand art.” I say, “There is nothing to understand. Just be there. Just try to comprehend that it is something interesting.” An example of how it’s not about soft power, but engagement, is what DBF did during the pandemic. All the major art institutions in South Asia closed for either health or commercial reasons. DBF decided to get involved with a community from north Bangladesh, which had hardly been hit by COVID-19. The project was called Bhumi and involved a minority group in the area who were craftspeople working in textiles. The project involved 260 people from 60 families, and it supported their daily livelihood. The project didn’t end with the pandemic, it was actually taken to last year’s Kochi Biennale to exhibit the works of the craftsmen and shows what is possible during difficult times.

This is an example of how art, philanthropy and art activism can show how culture can play an important role in times of crisis.

AAS: Just like Durjoy said, you see these very different and very nimble organisations involving themselves with communities and making a difference. The Islamic Biennale did exactly that. It was really revolutionary in the context of art in Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Arts Biennale was at the Hajj terminal in Jeddah, and offered locals to come to a place that they’d never entered because the Hajj terminal inherently is a place for Non-Saudis to come into Jeddah to then go on Hajj.

The locals could see this exceptional building, feel the power of Islam, but also of spirituality and of a community coming together. For people who were not Muslim, or had no connection to the Hajj, they saw objects and works of art in a contemporary and historical environment.

jewelled colourful prayer mats hanging on a wall

The Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah, 2023

Certain organisations have the power to be really nimble. They can profess their politics and support artists for art and culture. I think Delfina Foundation, for example, has been very clear about their support for artists from across a plethora of humanity and does it in a sophisticated, nuanced, and empathetic manner.

LUX: Where are you seeing Next Gen concerns amplified through art?

AAS: I think you see the next generation wanting to amplify diverse voices. There is this desire that art is geographically, ethnically, and sexually diverse so people can express the totality of who they are. There is a sense of activism to it, but there’s also a sense of declaration. I don’t always read into these institutional shows or works of art as activism. Sometimes an artist just wants to say, “This is who I am, and this is the art I make.” Artists are going to make art based on their life experiences.

LUX: Durjoy, where do you think the line is between declaration and activism?

DR: I think the majority of people want to see the origin of the artist, their background and their surroundings, reflected in the work they are producing. If I show a Bangladeshi artist and his or her work looks too different or has no context, sometimes curators even question it and say it doesn’t show their struggle or their originality. I’m not an art scholar or academic: I look at art based on whether I like it. But I think it’s important for an artist or a creative practitioner to show the origin, the struggle, and the history.

I think that we want to encourage artists going forwards to show their origin and their perception. An artist should be free to express their opinion, whether they are from Iraq, Lebanon or Africa. If they are willing to they should go ahead. DBF and I always try to work with artists who have enormous creative boundaries that they want to exhibit in front of their audience.

A man and woman sitting by a table with a laptop speaking into microphones

Al-Senussi in conversation with installation and media artist Chris Cheung during Art Basel in Hong Kong

LUX: To what extent do Next Gens feel obligated to witness and pivot or create change?

AAS: What I see more in my lecturing and my academic experiences, is that the next gen is very much about wanting to change the world and wanting to illustrate that. Through their careers and artwork, they want to be a part of the change in some way. It’s a little disheartening because there is this negative feeling about the future of the world, but at the same time there is a feeling that maybe we, collectively, can change the world.

You also see artists that are just reflecting on their own childhoods, like Farah Al Qasimi. She talks about her family home and the changes shifting in the UAE. It’s an activism, but then it’s also a reflection on the changing world.

LUX: Can art collaboration bring about changes of perception?

DR: Definitely. Art has a vital influence on culture towards current situations. I think art has a very influential way to foster international connections and collaborations and can question issues that are happening.

Read more: Maria Sukkar and Durjoy Rahman on supporting artists from your hometown

When I was in Paris at Asia Now art fair, I was talking to an artist from Israel and an artist from Jordan. When these two artists sat together, they realised where the problem lies. I didn’t see a division in their opinion, and I think this is an example of art bridging divides. Art can be used as a very strong tool to solve many of our problems including sustainability and global climate change.

AAS: I think art, at this time, is one of the only tools that we can look to, to unite us or to heal us. Unfortunately, it can also be used and utilised in other ways, but I have faith and hope that we will see a change.

Find out more:

durjoybangladesh.org

aliaalsenussi.com

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Reading time: 10 min
A white horse wearing a black cape with white flowers on it
A white horse wearing a black cape with white flowers on it

From the Durazzi Milano AW23 presentation

In the eighth part of our Italy art focus series, curated by Umberta Beretta, LUX speaks to Ilenia Durazzi who worked for major fashion brands including Margiela before establishing her luxury womenswear brand, Durazzi Milano, in Milan, championed by artist Maurizio Cattelan

LUX: What is your design philosophy?
Ilenia Durazzi: I design clothes with an architectural approach to the study of physical volumes in tailoring. I love minimal models with essential lines, made special by a detail, an accessory, in which I concentrate the most unconventional part of my creativity.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What cultural figures influence your work?
ID: My latest collection is dedicated to inspirational women from artists to scientists. For aesthetic inspiration, I would cite 1930s architecture, Meret Oppenheimer, Laurie Spiegel’s music. The common factor is non-conformism.

A woman with brown hair wearing a black turtleneck top

Ilenia Durazzi

LUX: Has Parisian style influenced your work?
ID: Paris is where I was trained and taught to express myself. It gave me the chance to create unique experiences in maisons that have written the story of fashion. But I was born in Urbino, a city of Medieval and Renaissance buildings. And when you are born in a region like this, it shapes how you see things. I believe our DNA recognises its roots, but changes with the world it inhabits.

LUX: How do the masculine and feminine interact in your brand?
ID: The essentiality of my creations derives from my experience of creating menswear and my fascination for men’s uniforms. Another point is the attention to function and detail, materials and craftsmanship in menswear. In women’s fashion these elements stay in the background. In my collections, they play a key role.

A woman wearing a tweed pink an red cot with red boots and holding a white bag

From the AW23 collection, by Durazzi Milano

LUX: Has Maurizio Cattelan
’s style influenced Durazzi Milano?
ID: Maurizio’s faith in my talents and support for the company have been fundamental. I couldn’t say Maurizio’s poetic approach has influenced its style, but his way of seeing reality is a source of inspiration. From artists we learn to look further.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Edoardo Monti

LUX: Has your vision influenced Maurizio’s work?
ID: Maurizio and I are at each other’s perimeter, we have shared experiences and supported each other in our creative journeys. It would be naive to assume that this hadn’t had an impact.

A black cape for a horses back

From the AW23 presentation by Durazzi Milano

LUX: What changes will we see in Italian art and fashion in the next few years?
ID: I imagine a future that is fluid and democratic and so will be art and fashion. They already are. We have to be able to handle evolving situations, social, political and environmental. To go forward, the world has to go back, to produce less but better. It is the core of Durazzi Milano’s identity.

durazzimilano.com

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 2 min
A man wearing a green, yellow and purple colourful top putting on red sunglasses
A man wearing a green, yellow and purple colourful top putting on red sunglasses

Edoardo Monti

In the seventh part of our Italy art focus series, curated by Umberta Beretta, LUX speaks to Edoardo Monti, who at 26 established an artist residency at his family’s 13th-century Brescia palazzo. Since 2017, it has already hosted more than 200 artists from 50 countries

LUX: Palazzo Monti is very significant architecturally. Does it influence your artists?
Edoardo Monti: The palazzo has a powerful effect. It is calming, it has stunning light and there is lots of space, so you can focus on your art in private during the day, but there is always someone in the communal spaces to chat with. The city, too, leaves an imprint. Bergamo and Brescia are Italian Capital of Culture 2023, and there are many cultural activities and museums that help with research and production. Lastly, there are the artists: they create a beautiful bond that carries on after they leave Italy.

A table and chairs in a room with art leaning on the walls

Pescatarians in the Hands of an Angry God, 2017, by Chloe Wise; Edo a Tavola, 2019, by Maria Fragola, and Late Breakfast, 2019, by Kyle Vu-Dunn, at Palazzo Monti

LUX: How do you choose the artists?
EM: We receive more than 700 monthly requests. We don’t care whether artists studied or are self taught, where they live or their age. We just look for art we have never seen before.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What is your favourite Palazzo artwork?
EM: I can’t get enough of Interior III by Christina Kimeze. It shows the artist and my dog, Beatrice.

A painting of a green monster on top of a wooden table

View of Nobody Like You/ Nobody’s Going to F*ck Me Like Me, 2019, by Sophie Spedding at Palazzo Monti

LUX: You worked for 10 years at Stella McCartney. Why did you change direction?
EM: I left Italy at 18, so it felt natural to move back when I was 26 and live as an adult in the country I love. Then there was the palazzo, where I had never lived, but which I thought had so much potential, and wanted to help express. Lastly, I had started collecting art at 14 – mainly figurative art, which is still a main focus – and I wanted to dedicate myself to my passion, working with artists from around the world.

LUX: What were the challenges?
EM: I missed NYC for a while, but Italy is pretty awesome, too. The challenge was to become known in the art world, which we did through social media and our alumni, as each becomes an ambassador back in their own city.

A white marble staircase in a hallway with painted walls and large wooden doors

A view of the Palazzo Monti with hints of its art residencies

LUX: Do you choose the artists to fit together?
EM: We don’t strategise. We host three artists at a time, and have been lucky to have groups that bonded. We have a large communal kitchen and dining area, where we often enjoy dinners together. We can’t guarantee positive experiences, nor wish to impose a social life. We respect that some artists come to enjoy living in a centuries-old palazzo and to work in our large studios.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Arturo Galansino

LUX: What are your aspirations now for Palazzo Monti?
EM: We want to work more with curators so our artists have even more support. We are also opening our exhibition spaces to other projects, as we become more of a cultural centre with a residency, exhibitions and a private museum.

Find out more: palazzomonti.org

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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People walking in and out of a building that has signs to COP28
People walking in and out of a building that has signs to COP28

COP28 closed last week with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era

Following the close of COP28 last week, Markus Müller, Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank, speaks to LUX about his key takeaways from the conference

LUX: Did COP28 move the dial on climate change?
Markus Müller: Yes, from my point of view it did. Look at the commitments to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and double energy efficiency. But it is what is implied by such commitments that is most interesting. This isn’t just a matter of developing pure supply. We’re also going to have to develop markets – by changing permissions and enhancing grid connection, to mention just two factors out of many.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

We also have to recognise who can do what by when. Rapid adoption of renewables may pose the biggest challenge for the Global South. After nearly 30 years of these climate change conferences, it’s also highly important that fossil fuels have finally formally been mentioned in the commitment for a “transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy”. In statements for previous COPs, there has just been talk about reduction of harmful subsidies. This is a clear step further. The problem for countries is now to make this happen without sacrificing living standards.

Dubai and the sea from an aerial view

Global solidarity was shown at COP28 when negotiators from nearly 200 Parties came together and signed on the world’s first ‘global stocktake’ to ratchet up climate action before the end of the decade

LUX: What was your best professional moment at COP28 and why?
MM: My best professional moment was a talanoa-style dialogue with the Island Youth from Hawaii, Philippines, Palau and Samoa. It was impressive to listen to the Island Youth discuss their views and hear their take on challenges ahead. The dialogue helped me understand how disconnected the world still is on many topics – but it also revealed a lot of hope for the future. We know what to do on climate change but we have to act now.

LUX: What was the biggest disappointment and why?
MM: The biggest disappointment was that the sheer scale of event hindered effective dialogue between businesses, policymakers and NGOs. Compared to recent COPs it was simply too big – in terms of numbers of attendees and, for example, physical distance between their stalls. We could have done a better job in bringing together the “needs” with the “what” and the “how”.

People standing behind a table on a stage with DUBAI 2023 written on a screen behind them

Over 85,000 participants attended COP28 including civil society, business, Indigenous Peoples, youth, philanthropy, and international organisations as well as world leaders

LUX: Do you sense genuine momentum towards changing economic thought to take account of natural capital, or is this still an outlier?
MM: I think that nature is coming more and more towards centre-stage but it still isn’t there yet. Next year’s biodiversity COP (COP16 in Australia) should however help make it clear that if we want to tackle the climate crisis we also need to solve the biodiversity and ocean crisis. We need nature for mitigation and adaptation and we need to think more in terms of natural capital to work out how best to do this.

LUX: “Overall, COP28 did more harm than good. The environmentally damaging deals that emerged from informal meetings will do more harm than any resolutions will do good”. True or false, and why?
MM: False. What about all the positives what we all bring home from our informal conversations too? Also remember how news reporting from this and previous COPs have raised awareness of environmental issues in public discussion worldwide? COPs have normalised open discussion of topics previously seen (wrongly) as not relevant to the global citizen. We probably don’t give enough prominence to the publication of the “Global Stocktake” either. This text lays not only the pathway that nations must take to limit global warming to the previously-agreed-upon goal of no more than 2°C higher than pre-industrial levels—but also individual countries’ progress along this path.

people shaking hands at a conference

COP28 saw Parties agree to Azerbaijan as host of COP29

LUX: Hypothetical question: you are hosting one of the next COPs, and you have absolute power over the final resolution. What would it state – in a way that is both effective and implementable?
MM: I’d make three commitments. First, for Nature and Ocean to join Climate at centre-stage of policymakers’ attentions. Second, to prioritise fixing problems with the allocation of climate finance. Third, and this is very much linked with the second commitment, to put an explicit focus on fairness. Most such finance to middle-income countries for projects that reduce emissions, such as wind or solar energy.

Read more: COP28 Diary by Darius Maleki

Far less goes to the poorer countries, and even smaller amounts to help countries adapt to the effects of the climate crisis. Many participants believe that the focus of future COP meetings needs to be on a fair way to reach targets. As part of this, developed economies need to band together to financially support developing economies in the search for a new, less fossil-fuel intense development path. I think we’ve seen a change in attitudes here in recent COPs and I look forward to them delivering much more here in coming years.

Markus Müller is Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

Find out more:  deutschewealth.com/esg

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A building exterior with a picture on it showing the inside of the building in grey as if the wall has been bashed through
A building exterior with a picture on it showing the inside of the building in grey as if the wall has been bashed through

La Ferita (The Wound), 2021, by JR at Palazzo Strozzi

In the sixth part of our Italy art focus series, curated by Umberta Beretta, LUX speaks to Arturo Galansino, director of the public-private Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, which opened an art space in Florence in 2006, and maintains a bold programme of exhibitions from Old Masters to contemporary art, creating a dynamic dialogue

LUX: Did you ever think you would make such an impact in Florence?
Arturo Galansino: It is beyond our expectations. I have been here for eight years and Palazzo Strozzi is the most successful exhibition space in Italy with the shift in 2016 to introduce contemporary art, bring important artists to create work here and create a public to see it. We are happy to have helped change the identity of this city, which is no longer a city of the past, but a protagonist of the present.

Two men standing in front of a painting of the Mona Lisa in blue

Arturo Galansino with artist Yan Pei-Ming

LUX: Would Florence locals Michelangelo and Leonardo approve of Koons and Abramović?
AG: I hope they would be happy to see Florence generating a contemporary art discussion from their legacy. And I believe Bernini would love what Jeff Koons is doing.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: How was it working with Jeff Koons?
AG: He comes to all the exhibitions, especially the Old Masters – we spent a lot of time at our Donatello, which was the exhibition of 2022 worldwide. Jeff loves so much what he sees, he wants to understand how it works. He told me he’s using a new idea inspired by how Donatello used bronze so economically – leaving the hidden parts without bronze. These discoveries are so exciting for artists who work with matter, and for me it was an unbelievable experience.

A room with wooden floors and benches and a metal snake hanging on the wall

The Snake Bag, 2008, by
Ai Weiwei at “Ai Weiwei Libero” at Palazzo Strozzi, 2017

LUX: Are you bringing a new crowd to Florence?
AG: In Florence, we have mass tourism. Tourists race to the Uffizi and maybe the Accademia, visit Botticelli and David and don’t even sleep here. We have fewer visitors than the Uffizi, but they come for longer and often return. They explore Florence – a special perfume shop, a little church they don’t know. So we create a tourism that doesn’t occupy only two spots. It also helps to make a more sustainable economy.

A man wearing a suit and blue tie standing in front of a bust of a horse

Arturo Galansino

LUX: Can you speak about “Let’s Get Digital!”.
AG: We saw the digital phenomenon in 2020, and wanted to be the first institution to make a significant show with it. We had such a success. Every day we had thousands of people mesmerised by images from the six most successful digital artists of this moment. And we could explain this new art, too.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Beatrice Trussardi

When we opened, in 2022, there was the collapse of cryptocurrency, which was so associated with NFTs, so it was a critical moment and were part of it.

A red painting of a man boxing

Bruce Lee, 2007, by Yan Pei-Ming, from “Painting Histories” at Palazzo Strozzi, 2023

LUX: Finally, do Italians still think this is a country of history, not contemporary art?
AG: Artistic history is part of our identity and I am very proud of it. What we should do is try to reinterpret its value towards new directions. We have to conserve, but also be progressive and open. I think if we find a balance, Italy could be the country of the future, because we have everything the world is looking for.

Find out more: palazzostrozzi.org

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Group of people in a red room watching talk sitting on chairs

people sitting on chairs on a stage giving a panel discussion

Durjoy Rahman of Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation addresses the audience at the AVPN South Asia Summit

A pioneering conference in India is seeking to kick start venture philanthropy in South Asia

‘We had a strong sense that our projects had a lack of effectiveness. Add to that the lack of transparency as well as poor methods of measuring impact, and it became clear that something needed to be done.’

On a charity fundraising trip in 2002, Doug Miller realised the futility of his friends’ and his impact ventures in private equity. Unlike traditional investments, metrics were undeveloped, and methods and final impact opaque. In short, a lot of capital and time was being spent with the best of intentions but with limited results.

In response to this, Miller developed the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) in 2004 and the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) in 2011, bringing a collaborative approach to venture philanthropy through exchanges with impact investment.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

His successor is the overwhelmingly accoladed Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO of AVPN and Chair of the International Venture Philanthropy Center, proclaimed one of Asia’s Most Influential by Tatler Asia in 2021 and awarded awarded one of Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen by CSRWorks. Batra presided over the latest AVPN South Asia Summit in Mumbai earlier this month; it was the first of these conferences to take place in person, last year’s inaugural edition having taken place virtually. This year’s theme was ‘Bringing Fringes to the Fore”, and it brought together individual philanthropists from culture, education and social impact, and major global companies and organisations.

Durjoy Rahman, a philanthropist from Bangladesh engaged in South Asian art and culture, focused around the creative realm and cultural soft power. Speaking of the cultural world, he said that one of the missions of this Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation was to show that the cultural world “does not need to be seen or judged by the West’s historical perspective”. Durjoy said he is finding this message is finding resonance both in the rest of the Global South, and also in the traditional cultural capitals of the West.

people sitting on chairs in a red room listening to a talk

AVPN South Asia Summit brings together philanthropists, venuture capitalists and other leasers to promote the field of venture philanthropy

“It is important to lead the conversation, and to do so needs to involve a multilateral, global conversation. It’s not about doing something and broadcasting information about what we do: multiple dialogues are the way to ensure we engage with like-minded individuals and institutions around the world.”

Durjoy also spoke about how the creative realm can contribute to future-ready education; and specifically, how the creative and cultural field can play a “soft power” role in influencing international views of Bangladesh, a country only founded in 1971 which previously had a negative economic reputation but is now one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

The same panel, moderated by Vivek Agarwal of the Tony Blair Institute, also focused on educational reform, and featured Dr. Akhil Shahani, Managing Director of The Shahani Group, Dr. Nivedita Narain, CEO of OneStage and Rakshit Kejriwal, President of Phillips Education, speaking about empowerment in employability.

With a history of philanthropic infrastructure lacking in Asia, AVPN CEO Batra is building a network, catering to models that suit the collective regional story and its challenges, moving from a purist venture philanthropy, focused on empowering voices and expanding the network at all costs.

Venture philanthropy itself is a relatively new field, pioneered in the US and now making inroads around the world. It combines elements of traditional philanthropy, where a return is measured purely on the impact of the philanthropic aims, and traditional venture capital seeking a return. There is a prevailing view now that this maximises returns on both levels.

The AVPN conference is aimed to be an interregional weaving of thought leaders and industry experts, where a collective regional story is conducive to progress as opposed to challenging it. Its brief spans culture and education, as well as sustainable development goals.

Left to right: Vivek Agarwal, Dr Akhil Shahani, Rakshit Kejriwal, Durjoy Rahman at the AVPN Summit after their talk on future-ready education

A conference on social impact and sustainable development runs the risk of empty pledges. But not at AVPN – Lavanya Jayaram, South Asia Regional Director, ensured animated conversations, with stakeholders ‘debating unique regional challenges and solutions towards charting a roadmap for philanthropy and impact investing in the South Asian region.’. Founder Doug Miller’s aversion to inaction charged the summit, which hosted over 70 speakers over 27 sessions, a variety of panel discussions, keynote speeches, workshops and ‘fireside chats’. The agenda is also interspersed with networking opportunities, encouraging an ongoing dialogue between speeches, to expand the AVPN ecosystem, with over 600 members across 33 markets and its own academy dedicated to teaching skills in impact investment.

In the wake of environmental disasters that struck the region over the past year, the 2023 summit featured panel discussions on climate resilience and energy transitions in South Asia. Speakers such as Prerana Langa of Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India, developing network based models for disaster risk reduction and biodiversity conservation, spoke particularly to this year’s floods and industrial accidents in Bangladesh, bringing investors into contact with means of making effective impact.

Read more: Cyrill Gutsch on saving the oceans through art and collaboration

A panel discussion dedicated to ‘Bridging the Borders’ and ‘Global Perspectives’ brings as one of the speakers Sanjay Gujral of Everstone Capital, a private equity firm investing across the South Asian landscape, further engaging investment in a cross cultural design. Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar also spoke about finding purpose in philanthropy.

The conference equally addressed gender gaps and supporting women within the economy through talks on gender lens investing, furthered by AVPN’s Asia Gender Network, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which seeks to advance equality through representation in leadership positions, economic empowerment and education, just to name a few.

Through a multiplicity of sectors and regions, the South Asian Summit is driving a collective effort in sustainable development and in centralising fringe communities in the discussion. The phrase ‘catalytic platforms’ is often thrown around, and yet could not be more apt in such dynamic conversations taking place. The Summit, through the focused involvement of leaders in their fields, is set to catalyse significant change in important and evolving areas. – Olivia Cavigioli

Find out more: avpn.asia

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A blonde woman wearing a white shirt and white trousers standing next to a table with a blue vase and a red ornament
A blonde woman wearing a white shirt and white trousers standing next to a table with a blue vase and a red ornament

Beatrice Trussardi, President of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi and founder of the Fondazione Beatrice Trussardi

In the fifth part of our Italy art focus series, curated by Umberta Beretta, LUX speaks to Beatrice Trussardi who as President of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi and more recently founder of the Fondazione Beatrice Trussardi, produces public encounters with art in unexpected places

LUX: Was art always a passion?
Beatrice Trussardi: My family had creative friends such as artists and directors, so I grew up in that environment. But it was when I went to New York for university, then worked in the Met, the Guggenheim and MoMA, that I found my path. I went back to Milan to the fashion business, and started my new mission at the family foundation in 1999.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: After New York, did Italy seem a little stuck in the past to you?
BT: In Italy we have so much artistic heritage, but there were only a few contemporary foundations in Milan: my family’s, Prada’s, a few others. After returning from New York, I wanted to bring contemporary art to the public. In 2003, Massimiliano Gioni and I had the idea of making the foundation nomadic, to connect historical buildings and open spaces with contemporary art, bringing art to Milan and making it available to everybody. We took that idea international with my own foundation in 2021.

A theatre with a projection of a face of a boy on the stage curtain

Ludwig, 2018, by Diego Marcon, from “Dramoletti” at Teatro Gerolamo, a puppet theatre in Milan, 2023

LUX: And you wanted to support artists as well as the public?
BT: We always say we make the hidden dreams of artists possible by producing and exhibiting site-specific art projects and exploring powerful subjects, such as migration and human rights. We have worked with many artists including Jeremy Deller, Ibrahim Mahama and Paola Pivi.

Two cars crashed into a mosaic ground with people standing around it

From “Short Cut”, by Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Ottagono at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, 2003

LUX: And it becomes ephemeral?
BT: That is what interests us. We don’t collect the pieces, the artists are free to take them anywhere, to lend the pieces or to sell them. Everything stays in the memory.

A woman wearing a red outfit standing next to an artwork of a woman

Beatrice Trussardi with work by Dorothy Iannone, Suck My Breasts, I Am Your Beautiful Mother, 1970/71

LUX: Does this make a unique experience?
BT: From the first exhibition 20 years ago, we wanted people to say, “What is that?” about the art and the location, because when we choose a location, it’s been abandoned or used for other purposes, so when someone finds an artwork there it is unexpected. It promotes discussion, an educational aspect that is part of our mission.

A man working on a grand piano in an old fashioned room

Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano, No 1, 2008, by Jennifer Allora from “Fault Lines” by Allora & Calzadilla at the Palazzo Cusani, Milan, 2013

LUX: What are your favourite moments?
BT: It is always exciting because it is agile and about catching a particular historical moment. Every time it is different, special, extraordinary.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Giovanna Forlanelli Rovati

Between lockdowns in 2020, we did a very interesting project, The Sky in a Room, with Ragnar Kjartansson in the Chiesa Lazzaretto, a 16th-century church in Milan, which was built without walls to allow the sick to attend during the plague. The church is in the middle of a field, and only 15 people could be inside at a time, to watch and listen. That was an historical moment, and very, very touching.

Find out more: acaciaweb.it

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Woman standing in front of artwork

Gemma De Angelis Testa

A desire to connect artists and art lovers led Gemma De Angelis Testa to establish ACACIA in Milan in 2003 and to instigate the ACACIA award. Here, she speaks to LUX about her extensive collection and the artists close to her heart

LUX: Did your love of art draw you to your husband, the late Armando Testa?
Gemma De Angelis Testa: Armando was one of a kind, with an extraordinary sense of humour and imagination, a creative approach that he applied to work and life.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Two pieces of art hanging on a wall

From left: House of Pictures, 2001, by Peter Doig and What to Do, 2008, Richard Prince, in Gemma De Angelis Testa’s guest room

LUX: You made a huge art donation from your collection to Ca’ Pesaro, Venice. Why was that?
GDAT: It is the realisation of a dream. Before becoming a collector, I dreamt of creating a collection to donate to a museum. It felt right to let people enjoy artworks that have given me such joy. It also ensures a future for the collection. And in Venice, during the Biennale, I met my husband and fell in love with contemporary art.

LUX: Tell us about some of the donated works.
GDAT: Vengeance of Achilles by Cy Twombly and Untitled by Gino De Dominicis are especially dear to my heart. The Twombly was the first piece of my collection; the De Dominicis one of the few purchased with my husband

Black scultpure of a soldier's head

Head (Miner), 2016 by William Kentrige, and Microcosmo (2001-02) by Francesco Gennari, in Testa’s entrance hall

LUX: Tell us about the art in your home? It feels like one is immersed in art there.
GDAT: With many artworks going to Venice, I created new art stories for the house. You are greeted by William Kentridge’s steel Head (Miner). The drawing room is otherworldly, with highlights by Ed Ruscha and Anselm Kiefer. The dining room includes Homage to Mondrian by Armando Testa and Homage to Armando Testa by Haim Steinbach. Relationships made in the guest room include Elizabeth Peyton and Peter Doig, and in the studio Lucio Fontana and Ettore Spalletti. The bedroom includes portraits by Marlene Dumas, and Aquile meccaniche by Testa. Artworks by Rebecca Horn, Pat Steir and Joseph Kosuth in the hallway lead to the kitchen, where you find humorous food works by Testa.

Artworks in a living room

From left: Small Many, 2000-2001, by Pat Steir; Drawing from Faustus in Africa, 1995, by William Kentridge; and 5/7/63, 7.30am, 2016, by Robert Pruitt, in Testa’s drawing room

LUX: Are collectors’ donations more important, as funding diminishes?
GDAT: They are essential, especially in Italy, where the lack of public funding is an issue. It is a way of giving back. Private and public institutions should engage to develop ideas around the lack of venues for private collections.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

LUX: How important is it for art to be available to the public?
GDAT: It is a priority, as art would not exist without sharing. Art is part of our culture, opening our minds and hearts. It is the right of everyone to have access it.

LUX: Is there a philosophy to your collecting?
GDAT: Only the desire to explore new paths and new worlds.

Find out more: acaciaweb.it

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Woman with white hair and glasses crossing her arms and smiling

Giovanna Forlanelli Rovati in the Sala Ontani. Photo by Giovanni de Sandre via Fondazione Luigi Rovati

LUX speaks to Giovanna Forlanelli Rovati At the Fondazione Luigi Rovati in Milan, where she is putting experimental dialogues between ancient and contemporary art, and artistic and scientific enquiry at the heart of an original project

LUX: You trained in medicine and science and worked in pharmaceuticals. Does that give you a different way of perceiving art?
Giovanna Forlanelli Rovati: Culture and art are unpredictable, and so are research and scientific discovery – both form the basis of Humanism. Openness and curiosity have always marked my experiences and my scientific training leads me to experiment with new artistic languages. The idea of connecting art and science led to establishing the Fondazione Luigi Rovati.

Purple room filled with art

Old meets new in the fondazione’s Sala Ontani

LUX: Have you always been fascinated by Etruscan art and craft?
GFR: I became interested in contemporary art in the 1990s in New York, while my husband Lucio is passionate about classical art, in particular Etruscan. Through our passions, we realised that there is an extraordinary dialogue between the ancient and contemporary. The project we share is focused on this.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Are there links between modern and contemporary art and ancient art?
GFR: Certainly, yes, there is a link between them. The aim of the fondazione is to represent and explain these links, but it is also the opposite: reading archaeology in the contemporary world opens it up to new visions.

Grand hall with white walls

The hall of the palazzo housing the fondazione

LUX: Your foundation combines a top-floor Michelin-starred restaurant, ground-floor bistro and garden, viewing rooms and a contemporary architectural creation underground. Why is that?
GFR: Establishing the fondazione was a constantly evolving process. “Wonder” is the word most used by our visitors, the same word used to define the great Renaissance artworks. Visiting a museum means experiencing moments of pleasure and wellbeing in the very beauty of the museum. First, the immersion in the art, but also being in the garden, shop, bistro or restaurant.

Dark room with artwork

“Living in an Etruscan City” on the hypogeum floor

LUX: Do ordinary people have little chance to view great art, now so much of it is owned by private collectors?
GFR: Yes, there are many collectors don’t show their works, but many others open private museums. In our case, the fondazione acquired Italian art collections from abroad and from private Italian collections specifically to display them in our museum. Our vision is to implement a project of inclusion and social utility.

Stone stature in the middle of the room

An installation view in the Sala Paolini

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

LUX: What are your ambitions for the fondazione?
GFR: To become a global point of reference and to export our model worldwide, discovering or rediscovering artists and languages, and developing relationships with private and public institutions in Italy.

Find out more: fondazioneluigirovati.org

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Women standing together wearing big pink and black puffy dresses with petty coats
Women standing together wearing big pink and black puffy dresses with petty coats

First looks, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture 25

Giambattista Valli moves as easily in the classical world of haute couture as in the contemporary world of social media and in the boardroom as CEO of his brand. Harriet Quick talks to the modern couturier as he prepares to take his maison to the next level

Environments have a way of seeping into the psyche of a designer and a brand. Rome-born designer Giambattista Valli is currently in the throes of bidding adieu to the wood-panelled, fresco-ceilinged lateral space in Paris that has been home to his brand since its inception in 2005. “It’s my historical space. When we first moved in, it seemed huge, a big undertaking and commitment. But now it feels small,” says Valli of the elegant, characterful HQ that lies on the rue Boissy d’Anglas in the 8th arrondissement, near Place de la Madeleine.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The office has witnessed the brand move in ebbs and flows since its inception, which was funded by Valli himself. The mid noughties were a volatile period in fashion, with extremes of bling and the highest of heels usurped by post-Lehmann brothers stealth wealth, as luxury brands clipped their wings and aesthetics to suit sober times. Now we are amid a new wave of financial crunches and the impact of the environmental crisis, triggering a new wave of quiet luxury.

Yet Valli is a deft hand at riding the waves and telling his own story in chapters that evolve and twist over time rather than chase hot trends. It means his company has been able to evolve and adapt, to the point where it is now time to upgrade and move his company of around 50 colleagues under one roof. Groupe Artémis, the Pinault family-owned company, has a stake in the brand, which in 2022 turned over an estimated $6.4 million. Valli himself has had an influence on fashion proportionately far greater than mere turnover numbers may indicate.

A man wearing a white t-shirt an jeans with his hands in his pockets

Portrait of Giambattista Valli

The new Valli offices are just up the road from the old, near Opéra, but offer two floors of light-filled space to house everything from the showrooms, atelier, PR and communications office, the commercial team and a VIP haute couture suite. “It is almost a townhouse, as we have our own entrance. The structure is good and there is beautiful stuccowork and frescoes,” says Valli of the interior, which features clean white “boxes” he has designed himself. “We always have so many prints, volumes and textures – I needed it to be neutral,” he explains.

With his dark thick hair, big eyes, fashionably deep yet sharply sculpted beard, Valli appears like a Renaissance artist transported into our times wearing a black T-shirt and chain necklace, instead of a doublet and ruff. He reserves his treasured 17th-century Mughal “good luck” pearl necklace for special occasions. “It is very rare,” he says. The pursuit of beauty in people, objects, environments and in fashion has been Valli’s lifelong pursuit. Soon he will be receiving VIP clients into his new showroom to choose from his latest haute couture offering, which was shown in Paris in early July 2023.

“I love to have the level of excellence that comes from pushing the boundaries of the atelier and the research required to propose new ideas of beauty. I approach haute couture in a classical-modern way, and each collection is like a new chapter of the same story,” says Valli, who frames himself as a romantic poet but is also CEO and an astute brand director, with a vision that appeals to a collective sweet spot.

The tradition of creating one-off gowns for an elite clientele who might attend three fittings before a garment is finalised might seem an anachronism in a click-and-produce era that can see whole collections turned around in a matter of weeks. But the experience offers an unparalleled luxury for both creator and client alike, a transcendental experience that sees centuries-old savoir faire reimagined for today. “Haute couture is the extreme side of this fantasy. It is also a practice that nourishes ready to wear, so what we see in the shapes, volumes and techniques filters through from a couture dress to a T-shirt or a knit piece,” says Valli of the osmosis. “When creating haute couture, ‘real’ time seems to stop and you float into another time zone.”

A woman wearing a long green ball gown that is long at the back and short at the front with a black bow around her waist

Look 09, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture 25. The maison describes the collection as “celebrating the modernity of classics and the timeless art of Atelier”

The 57-year-old couturier intertwines the many threads of his upbringing into his metier. Valli attended secondary school at a strict Vatican liceo near the Vatican Museum, took a degree in art, studied fashion at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Rome and in 1987 did an illustration course at Central St Martins in London. In 1988 he entered high fashion as an assistant for Roberto Capucci, the designer known for his opulent colour and sculpted gowns, who became a magnet for Roman high society during the 1960s and enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s.

“From Roberto Capucci, I can say that I learnt the philosophy of not being trendy; I learnt to step a little bit out of the spot of the moment and also to keep the human side intact,” says Valli. He went on to Fendi, which had Karl Lagerfeld at the helm, then Krizia in Milan. In 1997, he moved to Paris and the haute couture atelier of Emanuel Ungaro where, as first assistant, Valli learnt about the arts of flou and tailleur and the rituals including passing the pins in complete hush. Ungaro was so impressed by Valli’s light, fresh work that he made him Creative Director of ready to wear and the stores adored what he did.

Valli channelled that love of volume, of light, fresh romantic designs into his own label and started making a name for himself attracting socialites, creative types, young women and older women into his fan-club circle. Count in there Priyanka Chopra, Marina Ruy Barbosa, Eugenie Niarchos, Bianca Brandolini, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert (Valli made a macramé minidress with organza-chiffon cape for the party of her cliff- top Capri wedding in 2016), as well as more actors and royalty. They, in turn, became the best ambassadors for the brand and for its joyous, “go big or go home” dress-up daring.

“When I launched, all the houses had big stars, but we were independent and every cent counted. It’s almost like the Valli Girls chose us, We did not pay them to get dressed. They continue to be people who inspire me and they capture l’air du temps and I am nourished by that,” says Valli of his famously mercurial, nomadic, cultured muses and champions.

A man wearing a brown jacket, black top, necklace and sunglasses standing next to a woman with his arm round her wait who is wearing a green and black coord crop top and trousers

Giambattista Valli with muse Bianca Brandolini

In her 2013 book, Giambattista Valli, curator and fashion historian Pamela Golbin wrote of the designer, “Here is a story of duality, in which the exuberance of his Italian roots is artfully coupled with the formal rigour of the French.” She adds, “Complicity with women – through their body language and the gestures they adopt – is central to Valli’s practice because like a film director he directs his models as if they are actresses.”

In store and online that fantasy continues to seduce. “I have bought Giambattista Valli for most of my career. The brand consistently offers amazing and diverse occasionwear, from beautiful romantic floral gowns to tweed or bouclé suits and dress coats, which can be styled with a cute ballet pump or a sophisticated kitten heel depending on the occasion,” says Liane Wiggins, Head of Womenswear at Matches. “Giambattista Valli has a strong DNA and our customers continue to return for these well-cut, flattering pieces.” The store recently launched an exclusive capsule collection with the brand, which includes a floor-length silk fil coupé gown.

The current Giambattista Valli autumn/ winter 2023 line up finds raw-edge sleeveless tweed jumpsuits, semi-sheer tiered prairie dresses and a series of pieces including tunics and floral embroidered outsize jackets that were worn by men on the catwalk but are designed for every gender. “I do think there is fascination with beauty and how far one can push the fantasy,” says Valli of the zeitgeist. “The social-media message might be dreamy, critical or creative, but the platforms are a more democratic way to learn about this universe that was previously closed off and exclusive. It gives a chance for people to understand the work behind fashion.” He laughs as he adds, of his gowns that burst from the Instagram frame, “Image-wise, well, I have always loved big volumes, so that fits very well!”

Read more: Maryam Eisler’s photography series at legendary Parnham House 

From his new Paris HQ, Valli will lay the groundwork for the next chapter. “I would love the maison to sit alongside institutional houses like Dior and Chanel and to have that presence beyond my lifetime,” he says. “I want the brand to be coherent with a 100 per cent DNA that is about excellence and savoir faire. To do that, one has to move with consistency.”

With his 10-year-old son, Adam, Valli also has a young future to look after. “Right now, he is 100 per cent football! But he is very gentle, inquisitive, surprising, and I learn a lot from him,” says Valli. “How do I see myself age 70? Curious, still able to receive energy from beauty and wanting to share it. I hope I am going to surprise him, too.” This Roman in Paris knows his road.

Find out more: giambattistavalli.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 8 min
cop
Stone building in the sand by a power line cop

Desertification is one of the key consequences of climate change

With COP 28 just days away, Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland and Deutsche Bank’s Markus Müller speak about the need to prioritise implementation of climate goals at the critical global conference. In a conversation moderated by LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai, the Secretary-General and Deutsche Bank executive underscore the need for collective action for climate reversal on the part of the international community to counter an increasingly urgent crisis
A woman wearing pearls, a black top and patterned scarf over her shoulder

Baroness Scotland

LUX: What are your hopes and expectations for this COP?
Baroness Scotland: My hope is that this COP will be the implementation COP. If you look at the COPs which have preceded it, you will see that there has been an awakening of the understanding about how urgent the danger is.

We have been talking historically about the existential threat for many of the members of my Commonwealth family. But that threat is not a threat: it is here. It is omnipresent. The “1.5 to stay alive” slogan is not a slogan, it is a reality. At the moment, 1.5 is on life support. We must give it the oxygen it needs. It means the difference between whether some of our small island developing states will continue to exist, or whether they will disappear.

Although it is encouraging to hear Australia say that they will take the people from states which are subsumed by the sea, such as Nauru, this still means that their traditions and cultures will all be gone. Their graveyards will be at the bottom of the sea after thousands of years of existence.

My aspiration for COP 28 is that we will deliver on the promises we will make. The $100 billion a year by 2020 that we were promised in 2009 still has not been delivered. It has to be delivered.

LUX: The richest countries are good at words, not implementations. What needs to change in order for that to be delivered?
BS: One change that has already happened is that businesses and the private sector are now intimately involved in the delivery. If you look back at previous COPs, even in 2016 there was still a debate as to whether climate change was real. There was a debate as to whether we would go green and blue in terms of energy. There was a debate about loss and damage. Those questions have been answered. If you look at what happened in Glasgow, the idea that the private sector would not be intimately involved in order to deliver the solutions is now unthinkable.

Second, which I have been saying for a while, we must recognise that human genius got us into this mess, and will now have to get us out of it. If you look at the industrial revolution, it was amazing, but that brought more devastation climatically than anything else. Human genius will have to get us out again. Some of the extraordinary developments – such as geo-spatial data – will allow us to better understand what is happening, and therefore, perhaps, how we can reverse it.

Large palm trees in the sand

Oases in North Africa are disappearing as the Sahara spreads northwards due to climate change

A third change is that we have accepted that this isn’t just about adaptation and mitigation. When I first said in 2016 that we needed a regenerative approach to development which would reverse climate change, people thought that I was crazy. Now, everybody accepts that we need a regenerative approach – one which adapts, rather than just mitigates.

A man wearing a white shirt and black suit

Markus Müller

LUX: Markus, as an economist and also someone who has said things that some people might have considered crazy at the time, but end up being true, what is your perspective on this COP?
Markus Müller: I think that this COP will be crucial. I completely support what Baroness Scotland has said. If we do not recognise what it takes now, it will be very difficult further down the line.

First, the Global Stocktake, which will take place for the first time at this COP, will reveal some uncomfortable truths. We will hear, for the first time, how far we are behind our plans. I hope and I think that this will be an awakening moment.

Secondly, we need to get a better understanding of global finance. Perhaps I am biased, but if we do not give the global financial market a role to play in this transition, then it won’t happen. The states alone will not be able to do this; we need the capacity of global finance – be it through risk pooling, or through its distribution channels of money, location and distribution – so that we can work on these devastating aspects.

From the perspective of an individual country, their financial needs are huge. From a global financial market point of view, this is more manageable. We have been speaking about this for years, but no solutions have been delivered so far. We must listen to financial institutions. We have the tools. Together, we are powerful, but in terms of negotiation, business, and finance, the right angle is missing. In this COP, finance is crucial, and then – of course – the transition discussion.

LUX: Have the opportunities for financial institutions to work with Commonwealth nations and governments changed in the last couple of years?
MM: We have always had excellent relationships with the countries of the Global South and Africa. However, as we see real world climate changes, financial needs are changing too.

It’s no longer about financing the past, the traditional infrastructure and traditional energy supply. We now need to finance the future – and this is something which is still missing. The vision of how the future could look is not there. We should ask ourselves, “What should we have done in order to be healthy in 2050?” as if we are in 2050 already, so that we know which direction we should take.

This discussion should take place in financial institutions. President Macron said this very clearly. We have the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We have the World Bank. We have these huge international institutions. But we need to be ready for the 21st century.

BS: We must also help them better understand debt, and to view the whole thing as an ecosystem. Up until recently we have looked at each element as a hermetically sealed, self-contained issue. But they are absolutely not.

A mosaic of white stone walls in the sand cop

With global warming making desert margins unlivable, population flight is devastating communities and leading to refugee crises

When I started at the Commonwealth, we said that we needed a regenerative approach to climate change. That meant that we needed to do more on the ocean, so we began the Commonwealth Blue Charter. One of the things I really want is to increase the amount of money going to oceans, because it is absolutely unacceptable that about 0.01% goes to oceans. We are a blue planet, we’re not a land-based planet and to actually be putting almost nothing into what makes up the majority of the world is just crazy.

It is crazy that we are not using our intelligence better. Our Climate Finance Access Hub in Mauritius has mobilised $7.8 million dollars: we are talking about peanuts. We have deployed 19 climate finance advisors across Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean regions. We are working together with those advisors, and they have already delivered $316 million into the hands of the small states with more than $500 million in the pipeline. But I do not have the money to put a climate finance advisor in every country. I wish I did.

We have seen that these applications for international climate funds are taking too long to make. For some of our LEDCs (least economically developed countries), it will be two to four years before they get the application through. However, our most recent application for five countries, took less than a year, and we got $63 million. Why? Because in the last 7 years, we have honed the process. So when we look at loss and damage, we cannot put in the old-fashioned, useless system. We have to put in a speedy, effective system which will get people the money to make a difference. Bit by bit we are changing it.

But we need debt swaps. We need a good carbon market. We think we are within touching distance of doing that, because using satellites and geo-spatial data, we are within touching distance of understanding how much every tree on the planet can sequester. We will then have the granularity to have a real carbon market, based on real, concrete estimates.

That could be a gamechanger between the North and the Global South. The Global South still has the majority of the lungs of the world, which they are being asked to maintain – but nobody is paying them. If we can get a real carbon market, that means it will be possible for us to do the reversal in the Global South to keep us alive.

A water tower in the desert

Water towers in Morocco bring together local people for their construction and maintenance and create a common community dedicated to their sustainable use. When the water dries up, due to desertification, community bonds are broken – a pattern repeated in climate-related environmental developments around the world

MM: I can agree. We have been starting to understand the nature topic better. Nature is a very valuable collateral, because it creates ecosystem services on which we all depend.

BS: It is remarkable how much has changed between when we started the Blue Charter Action Group and now. We worked with them on corals and, now, understanding the role that they play in restoration has improved globally. I have just returned from the Maldives, where I was looking at mangroves, which are huge in terms of sequestration,  for and protecting coastlines. That conversation was not even happening six years ago, but now it is critical. The Maldives want to restore their mangroves. But the degradation is already there and, unless we do this quickly, it is not going to change.

MM: We must convince those who retain traditional thinking about these areas. This is a big hurdle, but if we activate the right players to do this, the solutions are there. Two years ago, we joined the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), and moved with speed. Perhaps we did not do enough with regards to concrete finance, but we wanted to understand the matter first, before unleashing the power of our balance sheet.

BS: The way in which I have been approaching this from the moment I came into the Commonwealth was to ask this: “Where do we want to be in 2030? What are the outcomes?” We’ve been saying, if that’s where we want to be in 2030, what do we have to do three months, six months, nine months, a year, two years, three years? Although other people thought it was crazy, we were right.

Those of us in positions of power now need to understand that we will all be on the same indictment. History will look back and say, “tell me their names. What were they doing? What were they thinking? Why did they not move at a time when it was possible?”

But the reason why I’m confident and determined is because humanity is always at its best and its most ingenious when our backs are against the wall. And right now, globally, our backs are against the wall.

MM: This is the interesting thing about development. You need to have a decent degree of scarcity for development to really kick off. It’s sad in one way, but it’s also a very convincing catalyst for change.

A burned and deserted car in the sand by a wall

The aftermath of a August 2020, wildfire which burned houses, date palms, orchards, vegetable gardens and more than 400 heads of cattle in the oasis of Tighmert in Morocco.
The increase in temperature and water stress has a considerable impact on the vegetation of the oasis, which, dried out, becomes more likely to catch fire

I also think that this discussion that we are having is proof that we are anticipating what’s going to happen. All backlash against ESG or sustainability are, for me, a signal that ESG and sustainability are being seen as a priority – otherwise we would not be discussing them as intensively as we are now.

LUX: Are developments around the world down-grading consciousness of what needs to be done around sustainability and COP?
BS: I think we woke up and smelled the coffee during the COVID pandemic. There is almost no one I know who was not affected either directly or indirectly by COVID. Most of us know someone who died, someone who was badly affected and/or we ourselves suffered from the deprivation, the mental stress, etc. I think it made a lot of people wake up and think, “What is life all about? What do I value? Am I sure I’m going to have it tomorrow?”

The other thing it did was emphasise the fact that unless we make sure others are safe, we won’t be safe and the people we love won’t be safe. The madness that we’re going through globally at the moment, the fact that every region of our world seems to be under threat, is making this fact even more omnipresent. It’s a tangled web of interlocking crises, and that’s what makes this time so volatile, so dangerous. If we don’t have a world, all the other things are not going to matter because we’re not going to be here.

I think for those in the Global South, this has remained the number one priority. What’s interesting is the agenda is being raised in the Global North, because the number of climatic disasters in the Global North is finally rising. Before, people would say the crisis had nothing to do with them. But when your coastline has been battered, when countries that have never seen a hurricane are suffering them, when trees are falling and floods are happening, when ordinary people’s lives in western cities are being made conscious of climate change, now it’s something people want to talk about.

MM: We know that cooperation is a very shy and very sensitive creature. Not being collaborative is not the superior strategy, it is the naive strategy. The smartest strategy is collaboration, but collaboration only works if there is a mutual dependency on it. This is exactly what Baroness Scotland just described; we now have a mutual dependency which is becoming evident and measurable.

A man holding a dead tree in the middle of the desert

A global temperature rise of several degrees, which the world is on track to suffer over the coming decades, would make this land uninhabitable

How can we solve the biggest problem humanity is facing? I believe in nature. Nature is stronger than humans, and it is currently taking back what humanity has taken. We need to be humble, but also use this as a tool for prosperity, because we need prosperity in order to survive and to create social stability. This also goes back to the aforementioned human genius, and to nature’s genius. Let’s activate this and let’s get there.

BS: And just think about the technological changes we’ve gone through in the last year. AI and digital and machine learning is enabling us to do analytical work exponentially faster. Before, you would have to do computations, which would have taken you 5-6 years. We’re now able to do the same computations within the space of weeks.

In the Commonwealth we’ve created and launched an AI consortium to look at the needs of small and developing states in particular. There are 42 small states in the world and we have 33 of them; if we can address the needs of those small states, this becomes a microcosm that we can use to solve many other problems. This interconnection and understanding that what works for one of us could work for all of us, is particularly powerful and why I am so delighted that the Commonwealth of 56 is being used as a kind of petri dish. We’ve got all regions: rich ones, poor ones, landlocked, island states, developed, all faiths. Therefore, if we can work something out that can work for our 56 countries, it is likely that it could become a pathway for the rest of the world.

LUX: What would be a satisfactory, realistic COP?
MM: I think what would make me satisfied is, first of all, to come to a joint conclusion on how to phase out fossil fuels in a way that this transition provides further prosperity for our countries and societies.

Secondly, I would say that this COP would be a successful COP if we were to get an agreement on how to finance the inclusion of the Global South in the economic and sustainability transition processes. The Loss and Damage Fund was meant to be this tool, but there is no money behind it. We need to get this signed by all nations.

Finally, I would love to see that nature as a whole, be it the ocean or biodiversity, gets closer to the climate discussion this COP. We must use tools like carbon credits and biodiversity credits to transfer the money from the users to the object or subject to be financed. For example, rainforests are our common goods to sequester carbon, to really get the finance mechanism working.

A man looking for water in a well in th desert

Climate change means that in some areas, water resources have vanished, while other lands are disappearing under increasingly acidifying oceans due to rising sea levels and higher CO2 levels

BS: I agree, and that really means we will have created a regenerative model of sustainable change to deliver climate reversal at this COP. That’s what we need. We also need – and I think we will hopefully get it – an understanding that this is a multifaceted, multidimensional approach needed by everybody. It will be business, it will be foundations, it will be individuals, it will be governments, it will be led by all of us.

Markus is right. We’ve got to get the money right, and there is no point in making promises that are then not kept. We’ve got to focus on action and what that action is going to be and by whom. I think the most important thing is to be honest with ourselves and with each other as to what this quantum leap, this paradigm shift, is going to mean for each of us. And then we have to do it.

MM: I see this COP as a gym, as a fitness centre, where we all struggle and get ready for the next step. I don’t know how much weight I can lift, but at least I’m training, right?

BS: And instead of doing the hundred metre dash on our own, we’re on a relay and everybody knows which run they have to make, where the baton is and who to give it to. There’s an understanding now that unless we run as a team and we connect, we’re all going to lose. If anybody drops the baton, it’s over.

All photography in this article from the series ‘Before it’s gone’ by M’hammed Kilito, winner of the 2023 Photography Prize for Sustainability, as featured in LUX

The 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP) is set to take place between the 30th November and 12th December 2023

Baroness Scotland is the 6th Commonwealth Secretary-General

Markus Müller is Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

Find out more: unfccc.int/cop28

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Reading time: 16 min
grass and seaweed on a sea bed
grass and seaweed on a sea bed

The Cyclades Preservation Fund runs a campaign to protect the vulnerable Posidonia oceanica meadows from anchoring. Courtesy of the Cyclades Preservation Fund

Philanthropy has a key role to play in initiatives to support ocean conservation, and in empowering communities with the ability to make a difference. Here, Darius Sanai outlines the importance of philanthropy, while Chris Stokel-Walker showcases seven philanthropic projects that are making waves

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant liked to talk about the categorical imperative: moral actions that have to be taken and do not broach any argument. Saving the oceans from further harm by humans is a prominent current example of a categorical imperative, one that would also likely receive the approval of moral philosophers from another prominent school of thought, utilitarianism, which espouses acting for the common good.

And significant positive change can be made – or, if you are a follower of Immanuel Kant, must be made – by people acting to their abilities in support of categorical imperatives. Philanthropists, such as those outlined over these pages, use their considerable means to try to make a difference in support of environmental initiatives, particularly in areas where other forms of capital are not able to work.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The opportunities to create positive change, and leave a positive legacy, are immense. Philanthropy plays a key role, but works most effectively when it is at its most informed. The links between the chains of planetary and ocean degradation are complex. A zero-emissions container ship can transport invasive species around the world on its hull; sailing yachts destroy carbon-capturing seagrass with their anchors; recycling plastics can produce significant carbon emissions. So it is philanthropists who are as educated on the issues as they are generous, working with carefully-chosen experts, who tend to be the most successful.

A man wearing a white shirt and black jumper standing by a brick wall

Ben Goldsmith

“All across the world, small groups of committed, passionate, effective people are making extraordinary things happen, often on a shoestring budget, and they are nearly always funded by philanthropists,” says Ben Goldsmith, the British environmental campaigner and founder and Chair of environmental charity Conservation Collective. “Philanthropy is the most potent kind of funding, as it comes without any requirement to produce a financial return and has the flexibility to pay for almost any kind of work, from grassroots action to societal movement building. In the right hands, philanthropy can move mountains. This is why it is so important that those with the means to do so give away some of their money – in the most thoughtful and strategic way possible – to those at the cutting edge of changing our world.”

Philanthropic capital is critical to ocean conservation and regenerative initiat

A woman with curly hair smiling wearing a black top

Jacqueline Valouch

ives, says Jacqueline Valouch, Head of Wealth Planning & Philanthropy at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management. “Money provided by philanthropic entities for ocean conservation and regenerative projects allows for early funding, innovation and alignment with the scientific community,” she explains. “By providing much-needed seed capital, philanthropic capital can help to de-risk projects and attract more funding. In these ways, it can help companies and others to restore, renew, conserve and make bigger change.

“Philanthropists are one group of the many stakeholders needed to move the dial on crucial areas of exploration, research (including through scholarship programmes) and innovation,” she continues. “These are initiatives that would not be possible without the dedication and patience of philanthropists.”

Seven Philanthropic Projects In Ocean And Coastal Conservation

1) Deutsche Bank Ocean Resilience Philanthropy Fund
Founder: Deutsche Bank Wealth Management
This Deutsche Bank fund was announced at COP26 in 2021 and launched in 2022. The fund enables philanthropists to engage with scientists on projects to counteract damage to ocean and coastal ecosystems by supporting projects that use nature-based, rather than man-made, solutions. An advisory council of expert scientists and Deutsche Bank personnel review and select grant recommendations for projects. The first such project, the Future Climate Coral Bank, managed by the non- profit Maldives Coral Institute, aims to identify corals that are resilient to bleaching caused by warming, and create a gene bank to support global reef restoration.

deutschewealth.com/oceanfund

2) Walton Family Foundation Oceans Initiative
Founder: Walton Family Foundation
Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton knew all too well how much the earth’s waters contribute to their supermarket’s success, and the company’s foundation has sought to help ensure the health of the planet’s water for the future. Its Oceans Initiative is supporting 14 fisheries to adopt more sustainable practices, and has lobbied in Japan, the European Union and the United States to encourage buyers to purchase more sustainably sourced seafood. “We believe that the people closest to the problem are also critical to finding solutions,” says Teresa Ish, Head of the Walton Family Foundation Oceans Initiative.

waltonfamilyfoundation.org

Read more: Richard Spinrad on moving towards a blue planet

3) Salesforce ocean Sustainability Programme
Founder: Marc Benioff
Global cloud software company Salesforce has run its Ocean Sustainability programme since CEO Marc Benioff began it in 2021. At COP26, Salesforce committed to buying one million tons of blue carbon credits and is investing $100 million in grants to The Ocean Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wetlands International over 10 years – as well as investing in 1t.org, including a Guatemalan project to support sustainable livelihoods for 400 families. “Ocean health translates to the safety of our family, loved ones and communities around the globe, and the ability for them to thrive,” says Dr Whitney Johnston, Director of Ocean Sustainability at Salesforce.

salesforce.com

4) Common Seas
Founders: Filippos and Andonis Lemos
The Lemos brothers are Greek shipping magnates – so they are aware of the biodiversity beneath the ocean surface. And they are conscious of the impact that plastics entering our waters have on the wildlife within. To help combat this, the Lemos siblings co-founded and are major donors to Common Seas, whose vision is to eradicate plastic from the oceans. Common Seas’ collaborative initiatives include partnering with governments to reduce plastic pollution; helping the tourism industry reduce its plastic use; and supporting education providers both to make their schools plastic free and to raise awareness among young people of the importance of keeping our oceans clean of pollution.

commonseas.com

children running into the sea

Common Seas incorporates education as part of their strategy to remove plastics from the oceans

5) Galapagos Life Fund
Founder: Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project
The Galápagos Life Fund (GLF) is one of the crowning achievements of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, a joint initiative from the independent non-profit The Pew Charitable Trusts and investor and philanthropist Dona Bertarelli. It was set up with the shared goal of establishing the first generation of large, ecologically significant and effective marine- protected areas (MPAs) around the world. The GLF converts $1.6 billion in commercial debt into a loan, capitalised by a $656 million marine conservation-linked bond, generating more than $450 million to support marine conservation in the Galápagos Islands over the next 20 years.

pewtrusts.org/en

6) Cyclades Preservation Fund
Founder: Conservation Collective
Nearly 220 islets and islands make up the Cyclades in the Aegean, which are home to a range of natural habitats being harmed by modern life. The largely female-led team behind the Cyclades Preservation Fund is part of Conservation Collective, a global network of philanthropic funds helping to preserve the natural environment. CPF programmes focus on biodiversity, education, local identity and marine conservation – all with the participation of local stakeholders. Among its biggest wins is supporting the establishment of a grassroots fishing protected area around the island of Amorgos, sustaining a local industry while keeping the marine population healthy.

cycladespreservationfund.org

bin bags piled up with plastic on a beach facing the sea

Cyclades Preservation Fund Supports the fishers of Amorgos towards their vision for seas with more fish and less plastic

7) Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera
Founder: Ibiza Preservation
Ibiza is a major hub for tourism, which buoys up the economy but has significant environmental impacts. In the west coast, there are 4.5 million pieces of microplastics in every square kilometre of sea – 30 times more than elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Nearly three-quarters of the waste collected on Spanish Mediterranean beaches is plastic. Set up in 2018, Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera, promoted by Ibiza Preservation, is made up of 14 main members including local non-profits, and aims to eliminate single-use plastic in the islands by supporting citizens, administrations and businesses to promote sustainable practices. Initiatives include the certification of local companies as plastic-free.

plasticfree.es/en

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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Reading time: 7 min
A painting of a woman reclining on a sofa, with lots of scribbles
A man and woman wearing black standing in front of a colourful painting

Mera and Don Rubell in front of When You See Me Again It Won’t Be Me (from the “Broadwaybrätsch/ Corporate Abstraction” series), 2010, by Kerstin Brätsch

Mera Rubell and her husband Don were the driving force behind the revitalisation of the Miami art scene. Now the collectors aim to do the same for an underserved area of Washington DC, opening a new museum in the US capital. Mera Rubell speaks to Candice Tucker about catalysing cultural change

LUX: Can art promote cultural change?
Mera Rubell: I think art is at the heart of all communication. Art can bring us together emotionally, which is what we’re possibly lacking in this digital age. We’re probably in greater need of emotional contact with each other than ever. Art has the capacity, through the way in which artists communicate, to bring us together, physically. You’re standing in front of a painting and it is there. It is not flashing, it is not about noise, it is about deep reflection into yourself and into the meaning of the work.

A man and woman with black afros about to kiss

A Natural Explosion! Afro Sheen® Blowout Creme Relaxer (from the “Unbranded” series B), 1973/2007, by Hank Willis Thomas

LUX: What most encouraged you and your husband to become involved in the art world?
MR: First, my husband and I have been married for nearly 60 years. There was no mission, art just became part of our life. My husband was a medical student and I was a teacher. We lived in Chelsea, New York, and artists were painting in empty storefronts and living illegally behind their artworks. We fell into that community. We were earning $100 a week and began to support the artists with a payment plan to buy their artworks. We wouldn’t have called ourselves collectors; we thought ourselves, in a very small way, patrons. So we engaged with artists, spent time in their studios and saw how invested they were. It became an obsession. We felt lucky to have found this amazing way to live our lives.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Why did you choose Washington DC to set up your second museum?
MR: We loved the museums in DC and had bought a run-down 1960s hotel there. It was in a depressed neighbourhood that had been cut off from the rest of the city by a highway, but we fell in love with this building by, as it turned out, Morris Lapidus. Across the street was an abandoned school that had served African American children. It had been shut down years earlier and artists had moved in. We bought the school. When we got involved with the community, we found the school meant a lot to them as it represented a point of their history that was not torn down – Marvin Gaye was an alumnus. When they learnt we had a museum in Miami they encouraged us to do a neighbourhood museum in the school. We said, “Some of the greatest museums are in Washington, who are we to do this?” They said, “Those are national museums. We want to honour the legacy of this building.” It took 16 years to renovate it. Now we have a programme where any alumnus can return, pick a room with their favourite art in it and tell their stories.

Colourful rainbow artworks in a gallery with light coming through the windows reflected on the ground

Installation view of work by Vaughn Spann at the inaugural group exhibition “What’s Going On”, 2022, Rubell Museum DC

LUX: Do you work differently in each city?
MR: We’re not simply going to take work from Miami to DC. We’re going to find ways to connect with Washington’s history and connect art being made right now to the historical richness of its museums. We were surprised by the welcome all these museums gave us. They appreciate us bringing young kids to DC.

LUX: What factors make an art destination?
MR: Last week in DC, we had a call from the President of Ghana’s office saying they would like to visit. That’s Washington, you never know who will call. Politicians who normally don’t have time to engage with art are starting to. Let’s hope they find more time. You have an educated global crowd and every non-profit there – all people who affect the world. So you hope a contemporary museum with the voices of creative people has an impact. I trust it will. Miami is different. We have tourists from all over the world. It is an exploding metropolis that became a cultural destination. That is the miracle of Miami – and it happened with art. We’re proud to have participated. In DC, we are plugging a museum into an historic building that means a lot to the community. They have seen the demolition of so much of their history and are proud to keep whatever they can of their legacy. We are now part of that.

A tryptic African style painting of figures

L’Incroyable Traversée d’Abdoulaye Le Grand, Troisième de la Lignée, 2022, by Alexandre Diop

LUX: Is it the artist, collectors or people in the community that shape an art community?
MR: All of the above. Hillary Clinton said it: it takes a village. It starts with having talent and giving it freedom and support. You have a lot of young people committed to that and to providing a living for artists. We talk about artists, but there are also writers, curators and teachers. You also need commitments across international borders to support artists. Even art fairs – don’t underestimate their power – and auction houses, they are all part of the mix.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf’s predicted art trends for 2024

LUX: If there was one thing you could change about the art world, what would it be?
MR: I wish there were more affordable spaces for artists to work and live. The abandoned neighbourhoods were perfect places for artists to reinvent. Now populations are growing and it is hard to find neighbourhoods no one has discovered. That was what artists did. Those neighbourhoods have now been demolished or are occupied by people who are desperate, as seen with all this terrible homelessness.

A painting of a woman reclining on a sofa, with lots of scribbles

Honi soit qui mal y pense, 2022, by Alexandre Diop

LUX: What new artists interest you today?
MR: So many! Our artist in residence last year was Alexandre Diop and, oh, what a talent. We pick one artist a year to live and work with us and it is amazing what they do. Alexandre is French – born in Paris to a Senegalese father and a French mother. He’s a dancer, a poet, a musician, and the work he makes is out of control.

Find out more: rubellmuseum.org

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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grass and a large pond with mountains in the distance
grass and a large pond with mountains in the distance

Cooper Lake, Alaska. The creek draining the lake is coloured red by tannins from the surrounding vegetation. The 30 x 30 initiative to protect such sites is supported by The Nature Conservancy via the US government’s America the Beautiful initiative © Stuart Chape/TNC Photo Contest 2021

The oceans have an increasing potential to provide food for a global population. The challenge is how to do so without harming the planet or its people. Chris Stokel-Walker discovers ideas, organisations and investors helping aquaculture towards a sustainable future

The ocean is an essential pillar of planetary life, sustaining and feeding billions worldwide. Quite aside from its ability to capture and sequester harmful emissions, our planet’s waters are a major driver of keeping us alive – for drink and for food. Three billion of us depend on wild-caught and farmed seafood as a primary source of protein – which makes it vital that the ocean is kept as a bountiful natural resource.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Aquaculture is the breeding and harvesting in water of fish, shellfish and other marine life. It is underwater farming, in short, and it is crucial to humankind. “Aquaculture is an essential food source, especially in our changing climate,” says Danielle Blacklock, Director of the Office of Aquaculture at the United States’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “Globally, aquaculture supplies more than 50 per cent of all seafood produced for people to eat – a percentage that will keep rising. And expanding domestic aquaculture presents important opportunities to bolster climate– smart and resilient food systems.”

Making sure those food systems are resilient and impervious to climate issues is important – because the population keeps growing. “We must come together and problem- solve how to feed people within the sustainable limitations of our planet,” continues Blacklock. “Within that frame, aquaculture becomes a leading method for ensuring nutritious protein is available for families today and in the future.”

Seafood is incredibly nutritious. It is full of vitamins and minerals that can help promote healthy growth, with large volumes of protein, vitamins D and B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Promoting the cultivation of seafood is certainly vital, but that cultivation needs to be done in the right way. Globally, humans’ appetite for seafood and fish has had negative impacts on the marine environment. So aquaculture needs to be practised sustainably from top to bottom. This includes looking at the types of feed used, tackling waste and making production methods more sustainable.

a woman with short hair wearing a necklace and smiling

Karen Sack

This is a particularly urgent challenge when you consider that aquaculture is as big as the global beef industry. “We’ve been fishing out our oceans on an industrial scale since the end of the Second World War,” says Karen Sack, Executive Director of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), which brings together different stakeholders worldwide to promote a sustainable and equitable blue economy. In the course of the past decade or so, says Sack, the proportion of our seafood farmed from aquaculture has outstripped that of wild-caught fish. “Part of that is because of industrial overfishing, which includes the wasteful and damaging discards that result from this,” she explains. “Part of it is because of the development and operation of agricultural techniques that have been pushed into the ocean and coastal space.”

 

A man wearing a suit and tie

Robert Jones

The latter can be a good thing – if done well. In terms of emissions and water use, the resource intensity of farming the oceans is more efficient than producing animal protein on land for human consumption. “When we look at the global challenge to 2050, we need to produce more food with fewer resources, and aquaculture offers that opportunity,” says Robert Jones, Global Lead for The Nature Conservancy’s Aquaculture Program. The problem is that, historically, the demand for more food more quickly has meant that industry has built many aquaculture projects to produce as much seafood as possible in as small a space and quick a time as possible – and damn the consequences. It’s a problem that’s out of sight, out of mind for many: 90 per cent of aquaculture farming occurs within Asia, meaning that many consumers do not see the harmful impact that intensive, industrial farming has on the environment.

Take, for instance, the early development in the 1950s and beyond of what the industry calls “carnivorous fin fish” – or what most of us would call salmon, tuna and other big fish that feed on other fish. That and shrimp farming was industrialised at scale, without considering the impact on broader marine life. Shrimp farming can be hugely destructive to coastal ecosystems, while any farmed-fish development can result in pollution and the overuse of antibiotics to try to prevent disease within stocks, causing wider harm.

green grass and weeds coming out of a pond with a hill in the distance with blue skies and small white cloud

Wetlands at Valles Caldera National Preserve. New Mexico’s Rio Grande and its tributaries supply water to more than half of New Mexico’s population. To maintain the clean water supply, The Nature Conservancy’s Rio Grande Water Fund is restoring forests upstream that have been lost to fires © Alan W Eckert/TNC

It doesn’t need to be that way. Aquaculture is necessary not only because it can be a sustainable food source, but because it can help prevent wild fishing from negatively affecting sea populations. “We need to protect those marine resources and ensure sustainability going forward,” says Jones. “There is a maximum amount that our oceans can provide, in spite of being so vast, covering 70 per cent of our planet and providing food for billions of people.”

While doing things right isn’t always easy, it is certainly possible. “We have seen an amazing growth in potentially sustainable aquaculture,” says Sack. “If we’re looking at mitigating risks, the key is the type of farming undertaken and where it’s undertaken. We need to ensure aquaculture isn’t at an industrial scale that requires antibiotics or nutrients that could harm both the species and the ecosystems where the farms are situated.”

Current developments in sustainable aquaculture include looking at healthy seaweeds and bivalves, such as nutrient-dense oysters and mussels. These can feed people and clean ocean waters without requiring any animal feed or antibiotics. It is also important to engage with the local community around which those more intensive farming activities are based, and make sure that any benefits brought about from sustainable alternatives are ploughed back into the area, protecting mangroves and stone buffers and seagrasses that make our oceans what they are.

Coastal and marine flora aren’t only important for maintaining marine biodiversity. They are also a food source in themselves. Seaweed production more than tripled between 2000 and 2018, with more than 35 million tonnes now being produced annually worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States, “increased cultivation and utilisation of seaweed are expected to be important pillars of sustainable food security and a robust aquatic economy in the coming years.”

Read more: Richard Spinrad on moving towards a blue planet

But making it a sustainable pillar of the blue economy is a challenge. Almost all seaweed production – which accounts for half of marine aquaculture production worldwide – occurs in just nine countries in Asia, where expertise to prevent disease among the crop is not always advanced. Making sure that seaweed farming takes place sustainably, harnessing the potential to diversify the submarine environment rather than bringing disease and industrial production to the seas, is critical.

The responsibility for ensuring that global aquaculture is viable lies not just with the companies doing the farming, but with those bankrolling them. Sack believes the opportunity for investing in sustainable aquaculture is just starting. “There are opportunities to make some money and do good, but you need to exercise some caution, do due diligence and look for impact funds with a firm track record, so that you don’t perpetuate a status quo that isn’t sustainable,” she says. We only have one planet, after all. And we need to make sure it stays around for all life to live on.

Find out more:
noaa.gov
oceanriskalliance.org
nature.org

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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A woman wearing a balck top and large diamond necklace standing net to a wall with frames and black boxes in the frames
A woman wearing a balck top and large diamond necklace standing net to a wall with frames and black boxes in the frames

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

In the first part of our Italy art focus series, curated by Umberta Beretta, LUX speaks to Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo who founded her fondazione in Turin in 1995. Today, the extraordinary initiatives of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo include transforming an abandoned Venetian island into a beacon for art and ecology

LUX: What was the first artwork you bought?
Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo: Anish Kapoor’s Blood Stone. It was on a trip to London in 1992 that changed my life.

LUX: What drives you to support art education?
PSRR: When we started in the 1990s, contemporary art received little attention in Italy. Education defines the fondazione’s identity and builds awareness of contemporary art in Italy. We offer a rich programme for schools, families and vulnerable people, and we train teachers. Our Young Curators Residency Programme sees three international graduate curators curate a joint exhibition from the work of artists they meet in Italy during a three-month stay. This develops curatorship and places Italian art in a global context. Campo is a similar course we have for Italian graduates.

books in glass boxes in a library

A view of the Lucas Arruda exhibition at the Ateneo de Madrid

LUX: What are ArtColLab and Verso?
PSRR: ArtColLab is our non-profit project to produce collaborations between artists and designers in order to help widen engagement in art – for example, Nicholas Kirkwood and Paul Kneale created beautiful limited edition shoes. Verso focuses on empowering people aged 15 to 29 in democratic processes. It is an experimental, poetic pedagogical model of exhibitions, workshops and more, on themes of citizenship, inclusion and the collective construction of possible futures.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Tell us about your philanthropy in Spain.
PSRR: I love Spain and we established the Fundación Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Madrid in 2017. Madrid is a global capital and a bridge to Latin America. The fundación is now nomadic. We presented Lucas Arruda at the Ateneo in Madrid in 2023 and we’ve also brought the Young Curators Residency Programme to Spain.

A red ball of paint on a white wall with red paint dripping

1000 Pieces, 1983, by Anish Kapoor

LUX: Who are the artists exciting you today?
PSRR: Globally, they include the painters Michael Armitage and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and the work of Josh Kline, Marguerite Humeau, and Klára Hosnedlová. In Italy, works by Giulia Cenci, Giulia Andreani, Guglielmo Castelli and Ludovica Carbotta have joined the collection.

installations in a gallery including one with a bright green light

Installation view of Rough Rides, Police States, Broken Windows, 2015, by Josh Kline; Vandal Lust, 2011, and Slavs and Tatars, Mystical Protest, 2011, both by Andra Ursuţa, at the fondazione’s recent show, “Backwards Ahead”

LUX: What is the San Giacomo recovery project?
PSRR: This island, a military site abandoned for more than 60 years, will become an outpost of dreams, a place to produce and show art, and host research and discourse on contemporary culture.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Umberta Beretta

With its delicate lagoon ecosystem, we will implement principles of sustainability and energy transition there. The fondazione will enable San Giacomo to become a meeting place for artists, environmentalists and the public.

An island with a house on it in the middle of the sea

The isola San Giacomo, which has been a pilgrim refuge, a place of quarantine and a military site, is being transformed by the fondazione in the name of art

LUX: What will be your legacy?
PSRR: I hope I am giving back to the community what I have been fortunate to learn during 30 years in contemporary art. Time passes and I think of my two sons, who are also passionate about art, so I am building something that will take on new shapes with future generations.

 fsrr.org

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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A cliff overlooking the sea
A cliff overlooking the sea

The conservation of Cape Foulweather Headland on the Oregon coast, an initiative supported by the Biden-Harris administration through NOAA. © Shutterstock

Richard Spinrad is a pivotal figure spanning politics and academia in the US. As Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the veteran oceanographer has the demanding task of guiding policy around maritime sustainability. Michael Marshall speaks with him about challenges and opportunities

“An environmental intelligence agency” is how Richard “Rick” Spinrad describes it. He is referring to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US government agency (of which he is Administrator) that has responsibility for the oceans. The NOAA produces data and predictions around climate, atmospheric conditions, ocean health and protection for fisheries and marine animals – “environmental intelligence” that helps fuel sustainable economic development. One of the biggest challenges that Spinrad and NOAA face is helping to improve the way the oceans are managed so that marine resources are used sustainably. Spinrad’s goal is to maximise NOAA’s impact by ensuring its environmental intelligence reaches those who need it most, so they can respond to the challenge.

Spinrad has spent more than 40 years studying the ocean. He obtained a PhD in 1982 from Oregon State University, his early research tracking how light behaves as it travels deeper into the sea and encounters clouds of drifting sediment. Subsequently, he moved between academia and government. He held roles at universities including Oregon State and was NOAA Chief Scientist under President Obama. On Earth Day 2021, President Biden nominated Spinrad as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of NOAA, putting him in charge of the agency.

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Spinrad arrived at NOAA at a time when public awareness of the environmental crisis, including threats to the oceans, had become greater than ever before. “We are seeing much savvier consumers,” he says. “There’s an increased change in consumer behaviour around being green and trying to figure out products that are not doing harm to the environment.”

A man wearing a suit with an American flag behind him

Dr Richard Spinrad, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. Courtesy of NOAA

Alongside the shift in consumer behaviour is the intensifying political pressure to solve environmental problems. “There is a generational push right now,” says Spinrad. “The youth of the world are much better organised and much more active, in a very constructive manner, than I have ever seen in my career.” Activists including Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate have driven climate change to the top of the agenda, pressuring governments to act.

On top of this, the impacts of climate change are increasingly evident. “What’s happening in the world is accelerating,” says Spinrad. “Whereas 10, 20 years ago, people tended to talk about what’s going to happen at the end of the century, now we’re starting to see impacts that are imminent and affecting market values and people’s attitudes today.”

In the United States, the result has been two landmark pieces of legislation passed by the Biden-Harris Administration: 2021’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). NOAA has key roles to play in implementing both. The BIL, formally the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is a sweeping statute providing $1.2 trillion funding, $550 billion of which is new. The aim is to improve infrastructure in projects related to highways, railways, broadband access, clean water and electricity grids. The IRA is similarly ambitious. One focus is to support and boost domestic clean-energy production. Alongside such priorities, IRA provides much of the funding to support BIL programmes.

A white ship in the sea

NOAAS Thomas Jefferson, an ocean survey vessel, at work. Courtesy of NOAA

Between them, BIL and IRA are providing more than $6 billion for NOAA. This will primarily support three initiatives: better climate data, preparing coastal communities for climate change and better stewardship of fisheries. Ongoing projects include the restoration of coral reefs at Maui Nui in Hawai’i, constructing a living shoreline on Ossabaw Island in Georgia and the conservation of Cape Foulweather Headland on the Oregon coast.

It is a big advance, but Spinrad emphasises that it is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed. “We are already seeing roughly a 10:1 proposal pressure,” he says. “The demand far exceeds the supply with respect to resourcing.” That means the money to support ocean conservation can’t just come from the government: it also has to come from the private sector.

“There is an investment opportunity,” says Spinrad. To encourage that, in July 2022 Spinrad hired Sarah Kapnick as NOAA’s new Chief Scientist. Kapnick has a background in climate science: she has studied the impacts of climate change on snowfall, the North American monsoon and tropical cyclones. She also has extensive experience of economics and finance: she has been an investment-banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, and her previous role was Managing Director at JP Morgan, with responsibility for climate and sustainability strategy for asset and wealth management.

“Science has shown how important healthy oceans are,” says Kapnick. “We know that disruption to the oceans has knock-on effects for society, including business. It affects ports, it affects supply chains. As a result, investors are increasingly interested in trying to figure out how to invest in these things.” The scale of investment needed to protect the oceans requires “an all-hands-on-deck approach,” adds Kapnick. “In financial terms, there are different layers of financing to achieve all these goals.”

A woman wearing a tweed blazer

Dr Sarah Kapnick

It will sometimes require blended finance, in which governments, the private sector and philanthropists come together.

Philanthropists are stepping up. “We are seeing some extraordinary developments,” says Spinrad, referring to “major players” who are getting into ocean conservation. Some, such as Julie Packard, daughter of one of the founders of Hewlett Packard, have supported ocean sustainability initiatives for decades. Others, like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, are more recent entrants. In 2020 Bezos founded the Bezos Earth Fund, which will spend $10 billion on protected areas by 2030. In July 2022 it announced $50 million of awards for marine conservation. This included $30 million to create a network of marine-protected areas off the coasts of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama – linking biological hotspots over an area of 500,000 square kilometres.

Perhaps the most dramatic recent example of environmental philanthropy was the decision by Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor-clothing company Patagonia, to give away the company. In 2022, Chouinard announced that Patagonia would radically change its structure. It will continue to operate as a for-profit company, but its profits will go to a unique trust and non-profit organisation that will support environmental efforts, including ocean conservation. “Chouinard’s action with Patagonia would, I suspect, result in a lot of people opening their eyes to the vast proportions of what is needed for climate action,” says Spinrad.

coral reef under water

The restoration of coral reefs in Maui Nui, Hawai’i, an initiative supported by the Biden- Harris Administration through NOAA. © Renee Capozzola

The challenge for NOAA, as Spinrad sees it, is to get more people and companies involved in ocean sustainability – and that, he says, means working with organisations whose priorities are, on the face of it, different to one another. “The burden, if you will, is on the scientific community to get out more,” says Spinrad. NOAA has started a series of engagements and partnerships with diverse groups including the public-health community, the medical community, real-estate companies and the insurance industry. “We are learning to communicate in their terms, rather than trying to force them to speak in ours,” he says.

For example, earlier in 2023 NOAA announced a project to help support the climate needs of insurance companies. In partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), NOAA will create the Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC), focused on modelling catastrophic impacts and risk assessment of climate change. The idea is to create decision-making tools for the insurance industry, enabling them to factor in risks from climate change, such as sea-level rise and increasingly intense tropical storms, when making financial decisions. NOAA is also conducting research to predict how sea-level rise will impact housing markets.

Such tools will help enable insurance companies to avoid investing in companies and infrastructure set to be threatened by climate change, or at least to charge higher premiums, thereby discouraging the building of non- resilient infrastructure. Working with such a varied group of players represents an ongoing challenge for NOAA. “We have more homework to do to understand how to better communicate these issues,” says Spinrad.

Read more: Enric Sala on working to protect vital areas of the ocean

“One of our pillars is maintaining scientific integrity and having people trust us,” says Kapnick. “We don’t tell you exactly what you have to do; we provide the facts that allow the decision-makers to make those decisions.” At a time when climate change and other environmental issues are reshaping the world in which we all live, being able to forecast, based on scientific evidence, is crucial. “At NOAA, prediction is at the heart of what we do,” says Spinrad. After that, it’s up to us all.

Find out more: noaa.gov

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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A woman wearing a black and yellow dress standing between two old men
A woman wearing a white blazer with her arms folded

Italian art collector and philanthropist Umberta Beretta

Italy’s contemporary art scene is blooming. After decades of being perceived as a museum of the past, the home of the Renaissance is experiencing another rebirth under a new generation of philanthropists, curators and collectors. Guest editor Umberta Gnutti Beretta introduces and curates some of the key figures on the new Italian scene for LUX’s Italy Art Focus series

Art philanthropy has been a part of Italian culture since before the time of the Medici. It is a tradition that is not incentivised by tax breaks, as it is in countries including the US, but it is very prominent all the same. It is for this reason that we see the significant and powerful exercises of Italian philanthropy that we are showcasing in LUX.

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Italian philanthropy happens among all generations including the young. We can see this in the case of Edoardo Monti, who was 26 and living in New York when, in 2017, he decided to move back to Italy, to a family palazzo in Brescia, to start the Palazzo Monti residency.

A woman in a white jacket standing next to a man in a suit

Umberta Beretta with Edoardo Monti at Spazio Almag

We are also seeing the increasing role of women. There is Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, who supports contemporary artists and whose team curates art for everyone to enjoy. There is Gemma De Angelis Testa, who created ACACIA, an association of friends of Italian art, and who has donated 105 works to Ca’ Pesaro Gallery in Venice from her private collection. Giovanna Forlanelli Rovati opened the Fondazione Luigi Rovati, named after her late father-in-law, recently adding an art museum showing Etruscan and contemporary art. Beatrice Trussardi runs the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi as a nomadic project that creates exhibitions in often forgotten spaces and places. L’Espresso magazine did a story on all of us: the mecenate, female patrons of the new Italian art revolution.

Two women standing together, one waving her hand

Umberta Beretta with artist Jenny Holzer

Despite its rich art history, Italy is not a leader in the contemporary art world in terms of money – most auction activity is in London, New York, Paris or Asia. But in terms of seeing art, everyone wants to come to Venice or Milan or Florence. The quality here is very high. We have artists such as Maurizio Cattelan
, who stands out in the contemporary art scene, and Lucio Fontana in modern art history, but there is so much more. Paola Pivi and Marinella Senatore are very interesting, and there are rising stars like video artist Diego Marcon, transspecies performance artist Agnes Questionmark and industrial artist Arcangelo Sassolino.

Two men and a woman standing on a gold staircase

Umberta Beretta with Arcangelo Sassolino and Paolo Repetto

In addition to hosting foundations, Italian cities have become places for contemporary artists from around the world to live and work. Danish artist Leonardo Anker Vandal is in Brescia; Ignasi Monreal from Barcelona and
Thelonious Stokes from Chicago live and work in Florence; and Ukrainian artist Daria Dmytrenko is in Venice. As well as being the location of the Palazzo Monti residency, Brescia is the Italian Capital of Culture this year. And Florence has the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, where Arturo Galansino has created a world-class art museum. So artists can come to Italy and take a look at what surrounds them, old and new, and be inspired. It’s different, in my view, from going to a loft space in New York and taking a look around that.

A woman wearing a black and yellow dress standing between two old men

Umberta Beretta with artist duo Gilbert and George

Our very strong commercial galleries include Massimo de Carlo, and kaufmann repetto by Francesca Kaufmann and Chiara Repetto, both in Milan. In my Brescia hometown, Massimo Minini opened Galleria Massimo Minini in 1973.

Read more: An Interview with Maurizio Cattelan

He is a great gallerist and has a long history of friendship with amazing artists, including artists of the Arte Povera of the 1960s. The art scene in Italy is very old, but it is also very new. It’s an exciting time both in Italian art and Italian art philanthropy.

Umberta Gnutti Beretta is a philanthropist who supports work in fields of medicine, women and children’s rights and the arts. Among many roles, she is on the governing council of the Fondazione Brescia Musei and is President of the Restoration Club of the Museo Poldi Pezzoli.

umbertagnuttiberetta.com

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Jacquesson Managing Director Jean Garandeau approaches the house on the Jacquesson estate

François Pinault, the French luxury titan, recently purchased champagne Jacquesson, one of the country’s hidden gems and a favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte. Darius Sanai pays a visit and speaks to the team

Champagne is an interesting phenomenon in the world of luxury drinks. For some, it is still an aperitif to be sipped before the real wine begins. For many others, a great champagne is a drink to be savoured and deliberated over. The production of champagne is more complex than that of still wine, giving ample opportunity for connoisseurs to debate and be fascinated. And a changing climate and more sophisticated farming and winemaking techniques mean that the best champagnes now are, arguably, the best champagnes that have ever been.

Into this mix, add the recent arrival of fevered discussions among collectors about size. Not size of bottle, which is still important (the common agreement is that a magnum has the perfect ratio of liquid to gas within the bottle for perfect ageing), but of producer. Unlike other fine wines, great champagnes can be produced by large corporate brands, but also by tiny farmers with small plots of land – the latter recently coming to the fore in public consciousness.

A view across the vineyards of what is one of France’s oldest champagne houses

Sitting amid this magnificent landscape (both figuratively and literally) is Jacquesson, an intriguing champagne house that has, for the past few decades, been a cornerstone of the cellars of many connoisseurs and collectors. Not big enough to be known as a Grande Marque, but not small enough to be a small grower, it made its modern-day fame by pioneering the creation of numbered, non vintage champagne (see The 700s below) and some incredibly complex single-vineyard cuvées made in tiny quantities (see The Tasting).

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One of the oldest of all the champagne houses, with one of the richest of what the French call patrimoines (roughly translated as “heritage”, but, in fact, meaning much more), Jacquesson is often cited as having been a favourite of the Emperor Napoleon. After its founding by the eponymous family in 1798, and what was probably the most significant celebrity endorsement in the world to date by the Europe-conquering emperor, who awarded the maison a gold medal in 1810, it lost its way a bit after the family sold it in the late 19th century, and through much of the 20th, before it was bought by Jean Chiquet in 1974 and handed down in 1990 to his sons, Jean-Hervé and Laurent, who began its revival. The brothers rationalised the range, focused on quality, reduced the quantity produced, introduced single-vineyard cuvées (ahead of the current trend for such wines)and, finally, led the way in the creation of the numbered cuvées, first released in 2004.

The cellars hold the 700s and the late disgorgements, which are kept for longer

And now, Jacquesson is just entering a new and extremely significant chapter in its patrimoine. The house was acquired in 2022 by François Pinault’s Artémis Domaines, a division of Groupe Artémis. The Groupe also owns Christie’s auction house, and Kering, which includes Gucci and Balenciaga. Artémis Domaines also takes care of Château Latour and a small selection of jewel-in-the-crown wine estates in France and California. Upholding the promise of its imperial birth, Jacquesson is now firmly a member of a new French empire – that of high luxury.

Frédéric Engerer is the straight-talking Managing Director of Artémis Domaines; having first managed Château Latour on its acquisition by Artémis Domaines, and subsequently other estates including the celebrated Clos du Tartin Burgundy, acquired in 2018. Engerer is also something of an unspoken sustainability pioneer: Latour was the first of the First Growth Bordeaux estates – the most exclusive club, comprising Châteaux Latour, Lafite Rothschild, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild and Haut-Brion – to be certified 100 per cent organic, in 2019. Engerer is, understandably, proud of the acquisition.

Jean Garandeau

“We have been following Jacquesson for many years,” he says. “The way the Chiquet brothers, Jean-Hervé and Laurent, modernised the brand and increased the quality level of each cuvée in such a short time is tour de force.

“Creating the Cuvée 700 was based on a very simple and understandable concept with a very recognisable label; and at the same time, focusing on quality rather than quantity of crops, keeping very traditional vinification methods, increasing the ageing of each cuvée and reducing– if not eliminating totally – the level of dosage [added sugar]. This led to cuvées 700 that are very balanced, elegant, refined and with very distinctive styles for each of the fourlieux-dits [single vineyards].

The antique estate doors

“Moreover, Jacquesson’s small size as a maison producing 250,000 bottles per year, its strong vigneron culture and its image as “champagne for the wine connoisseur” are all elements very much aligned with our philosophy at Artémis Domaines and are very compatible with our other domaines.”

“So these are Pinot Noir grapes,” I say, knowledgeably, looking at some hopeful young bunches on a vine on a slope with a spectacular view of what seems like the whole of the Champagne region. Above us is a thick forest, packed with dozens of different types of trees, bushes and other vegetation. Below us, in a bread bowl, are swathes of vineyards, dropping down into a series of villages, leading to the town of Épernay, centre of the Champagne region. Beyond, the vineyards rise, once again to forests, beyond which land stretches to the endless undulations of la France Profonde

A progress check on a batch of 2018 Dizy Terres Rouge

I am with Jean Garandeau, appointed Managing Director of Jacquesson in 2022, and Vineyard Manager Mathilde Prier. “No, they are Chardonnay grapes,” Prier replies with a smile. I raise an eyebrow. This hillside, above the village of Dizy, is famous among wine lovers for producing some of the best Pinot Noir wines to go into the greatest champagnes. “It’s true that most of this area is Pinot Noir,” says Garandeau, sensing my confusion. “But it just shows that very special grapes can grow where you don’t expect them to.”

The Chardonnay from this vineyard makes Corne Bautray, a tiny production wine that has become one of the estate’s most celebrated, and which we will taste later. We continue on our tour of the panoramic vineyard area, ducking down one bumpy unmade track after another until we get to another vineyard. “This is all Pinot Noir,” says Garandeau, pointing around an area around the size of a couple of tennis courts.

The vineyards stretching to the forested hillsides

Jacquesson is a rare producer in several ways. It produces very small quantities of these single-vineyard wines – to the extent that they are not so much cult wines as secret wines, each market just getting a few cases to be fought over by collectors. The maison also does not make a rosé wine, nor a standard vintage champagne, which typically is a blended champagne made out of grapes of a single year. Apart from the single vineyards, the accent is very much on the numbered releases, or 700s, and their distinguished cousins, the late disgorgements, which are simply the same wines but held in the cellar, maturing in their live creative process for years longer.

The Jacquesson estate itself is in Dizy, one of the villages we saw from the hillside up above. There is a handsome house with a lawn and a small vineyard next door, and a tasting room with a vaulted ceiling. The cellars, like that of any champagne house, are extensive. Sitting in the tasting room, Garandeau tells me there is no plan to make dramatic changes at Jacquesson. “We are starting at a very high level, but we can fine-tune. We are very focused on understanding the terroir of each vineyard and, if possible, sourcing some additional great grapes to complement what we have. We can invest in facilities, improve parts of the process and, after one or two vintages, be confident to take decisions because we know the process a little better. We can also work to increase awareness among international wine lovers.

The spectacularly situated vineyards contain Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir grapes

”There are no plans to turn the boutique grower into a giant, along the lines of more famous houses. “We have a boutique approach at Artémis Domaines, which is part of our culture, and which helps build on the future for Jacquesson,” says Garandeau. “Boutique is the future as well as the past.” There are, he adds, no plans to bring in additional ranges, or a rosé (the latter was discontinued by the previous owners) – a shame, as I am sure Jacquesson would make a rosé to rival Dom Pérignon’s powerful offering and the curiously (in the context of its other wines) delicate offering by Krug, both from houses owned by LVMH (majority-owned, in the case of Krug).

Read more: A tasting of Schrader’s legendary Napa wines

Garandeau also points out that tastes for champagne are changing. “In the past, people would go into a restaurant and want to start with a bit of champagne, and take whatever was served by the glass and not really question it,” he says. “Now, people are focusing increasingly on taste. People will get the full wine list and choose a bottle of champagne to share before the meal. And even when you see the selection of champagnes by the glass in many places, where 20 years ago you would just have the big brands, now it’s changing and there is much more variety. Champagne is being treated much more like wine.”

Vineyard Manager Mathilde Prier

With that, the first cork is slowly released from its bottle by Cellarmaster Yann Le Gall, and our tasting begins – although not before I reflect that one of France’s most sophisticated luxury brands is beginning a new phase in its patrimoine that could be just as interesting as those of its first decades.

The 700s

Jacquesson gained instant credibility among wine geeks, many of whom had previously considered champagne a second-class drink, when it replaced its entry-level non-vintage champagne with its numbered Cuvées 700 in 2004. Almost all champagne houses had, until then, produced a “non-vintage” champagne as their primary offering, blending wines of different years together without indicating which – most still do. The 700s were different, declaring by their numbering exactly which year the wine in the bottles was based on. This arcane detail immediately transformed perceptions: a champagne house that was not trying to make a generic non-vintage blend, like a whisky, each year, but instead proud that different years produced different types of wine, and saying so on the label. The fact that the wines, starting with Cuvee 728 in 2004 and proceeding up by one number each year, were of such high quality, also helped.

Jean Garandeau and Cellarmaster Yann Le Gall at the tasting

The Tasting: Notes by Darius Sanai

Cuvee 746

The latest of the 700 series. A sultry, thought-provoking and sophisticated wine: Catherine Deneuve in a 1958 Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato.

the Jacquesson estate house, which dates back to 1798, when the maison was founded

 

 

Cuvee 741 Dégorgement Tardif

Released after extended ageing on its yeast in the cellars. A serious champagne to be enjoyed over an extended meal at your riverside château in central France, with Jacques Brel playing on your turntable.

The process of making champagne is more complex than that of still wine

Champ Caïn 2013

Recently released after 10 years maturing in the cellars. All Chardonnay: pretty yet powerful at the same time, like Béatrice Dalle in vintage Balenciaga.

Corne Bautray 2013

Another Chardonnay-based single-vineyard wine, this is intense, deep, thought-provoking and quite serious, like sitting with Simone de Beauvoir in Les Deux Magots.

A bottle of Cuvée 746, the latest of the estate’s treasured 700 series

Terres Rouges 2013

Exclusively Pinot Noir, and with something complex and not yet fully detectable emerging under its perfectly polite manner, like the first part of a meal with Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Vauzelle Terme 2013

If any of the Jacquesson champagnes resembles the maison’s most famous advocate, it is this, tiny production label. You take a sip and think you have mastered it, then it comes back at you from different directions. Like Napoleon, this will get ever better with age.

Photography by Brice Brastaad

Find out more: www.champagnejacquesson.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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A colourful painting of a woman walking into a house
A blonde woman wearing a white shirt sitting in front of a blue orange and red block colour painting

Sophie Neuendorf, Vice President of Artnet and Senior Contributing Editor at LUX

Sophie Neuendorf, Vice President of Artnet and LUX Senior Contributing Editor, turns her insider’s eye to emerging trends to bring us her art-world predictions for 2024

1. Online fine art sales will take up more market share
According to financial services company UBS, online fine-art sales made up 16 per cent of the $68 billion global fine-art market in 2022, up from six per cent in 2019. With the rise of a new tech-savvy generation and the desire for digital solutions and experiences, I predict online sales will continue to rise.

2. All eyes will be on Christie’s and Sotheby’s
It’s no secret that the art market has been volatile recently. Sotheby’s failed to consign several hot single-owner sales and Christie’s had the Fineberg sale disaster. But with a summer Sotheby’s sale that included a rare Klimt portrait with an estimate
of $80 million and Christie’s total sales outperforming Sotheby’s for the first half of 2023, the fightback is on. Will Christie’s finally emerge as the art-world auction powerhouse? The stage is set for 2024.

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3. There will be a consolidation of the market
A plethora of art-related companies have surfaced over the past few years. The question is, with online experiences and transactions increasing, which companies will take the lead in this hot segment? I predict that only a few companies will survive and take the lead in the market, especially because of socioeconomic pressures, and this will become apparent during 2024.

4. Art and fashion collaborations will expand
I recently spoke to a friend who works in one of the major haute fashion houses about the rapidly increasing collaborations in art and fashion. These are fruitful creative marriages with benefits on both sides. While the fashion industry gains depth and seriousness, fine art can gain new potential collectors. There have been controversies, such as the concerns over Louis Vuitton’s 2023 collaboration with Yayoi Kusama. At Saint Laurent, however, Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello is doing a remarkable job in supporting established and emerging artists, just like Yves Saint Laurent himself. There’s an exhibition space at the Rive Droite site and global pop-up shows including Sho Shibuya at Art Basel Miami Beach.

A colourful painting of a woman walking into a house

Christmas in California, 2022, by Guimi You. The Korean artist is a LUX favourite. Image chosen by our editorial team, not an endorsement by the writer

5. Museums will deaccession more works
The Whitney Museum of American Art recently deaccessioned seven works, including four by Edward Hopper, with proceeds from the sales said to be going to support new acquisitions. Hopper is indisputably one of America’s greatest artists and it strikes me that the action caused panic in the market – works by Hopper were predicted to take a tumble in value. This is the unfortunate side-effect of deaccessioning artworks. However, I personally feel that an artwork is far better served on an art lover’s wall than in a museum vault.

6. ESG will have a greater foothold in the market
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a framework that is rapidly gaining in importance. It is not only an indicator of the sustainable health of an economy or company, it is also driving decision-making among the new generation of collectors. Where the baby-boomer generation was interested in how an artist draws from art history, the new generation of collectors is more concerned with asking about what drives the artist. What are they trying to communicate with their work? Does it represent the zeitgeist and discuss contemporary themes, such as #MeToo, Black Lives Matter or the war in Ukraine? In trying to captivate the new generation, galleries will have to engage with ESG reporting and initiatives.

Read more: Artist Ricky Burrows: From the streets to the studio

7. Expenditure in fine art as an asset will increase
I always advise to buy for passion, but with an investment view. According to cultural economist Claire McAndrew, investments in fine art are especially lucrative during inflationary and recessionary periods. I have noticed significantly increased movement over the past few months, especially on the private sales side of the market. From an eye-opening Lichtenstein to a rare Caravaggio, never have I been offered so many works for private sale and acquisition. With the impending transfer of wealth from the baby boomer to the millennial generation, I predict there will be many a marvellous work to hit the auction block in 2024 and, indeed, over the next few years.

Find out more: artnet.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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A woman singing on stage next to a person on a keyboard with green lights above her and people watching sitting at tables
A woman singing on stage next to a person on a keyboard with green lights above her and people watching sitting at tables

Lindsey and Jorge Villon founded the The Wonder of Sound in 2019 to provide awareness, funding, and support to Auditory Verbal (AVUK). The Wonder of Sound 2023 Gala marked the 4th anniversary of the musical event in aid of AVUK and was held in London at BAFTA in Piccadilly

This year’s Wonder of Sound Gala raised almost £400,000 through the generosity of guests from the art, music, film, finance and philanthropy world.

The talent performing at the event included Reuben James, Karen Ruimy, Sophie-Rose Harper, Khaya Wiyaala and Fine Young Cannibals.

Jorge and Lindsey Villon started the charity after experiencing first-hand the work of AVUK for their daughter, Grace, who was born profoundly deaf.  Today, Grace speaks and interacts like any hearing child due to AVUK’s unique approach to auditory verbal therapy and their dedicated staff.

Through AVUK’s highly specialised, intensive early-intervention programme, as many as 80% of deaf children who spend two or more years on the programme achieve ‘age appropriate’ language skills.

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An auctioneer going round tables with a microphone
A man in a suit holding a drink next to a woman wearing black dress also holding a drink

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

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A man in a suit with a red waistcoat standing in a room with art
A man in a suit with a red waistcoat standing in a room with art

Durjoy Rahman, founder of the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation

A philanthropic foundation from Bangladesh is creating powerful ties between art and culture in East and West, with a nexus in Italy. Greg Thomas reports on the remarkable dialogues and cross-fertilisation across the Global South and North being catalysed by the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation.

“We have craft traditions in Bengal that are thousands of years old,” Durjoy Rahman tells me from his home in Dhaka, the capital of his native Bangladesh, which is part of the wider Bengal region. A vibrant abstract painting hangs on the wall behind him, and coloured beads adorn his wrist. Since launching the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) in 2018, the art collector and philanthropist has made it his mission to promote the creative culture of his home country and the wider South Asian region, including Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka; and to create links between the Global South and North.

Over the past five years, DBF, which grew out of Durjoy’s collecting, has supported countless creatives through residencies, exhibitions and exchange programmes. It has linked up artists, art writers and craftspeople in South Asia and Europe, but also reaching across South America, Africa and elsewhere.

A group of people standing for a photo outside a building

Members of the Venice Bangladeshi community, from the local Bangla language school, at an open studio visit, Majhi International Art Residency, Venice, 2019

A particular concern has always been to establish ties with Italy. Or rather, as Durjoy puts it, “not Italy, but Venice. When we were making plans to build bridges between East and West, and to think about how creative people from South Asia could gain greater visibility, we felt that Venice was a perfect place to focus our efforts. Because of the Venice Biennale, it’s a gathering point for global art populations.”

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The foundation’s latest project, the DBF-KMB Award, was launched in Venice in 2022 in collaboration with London’s Hayward Gallery. Every two years until 2028, curators from the Hayward, with representatives from the DBF and the Kochi Biennale Foundation, will select one outstanding South Asian artist exhibiting at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, to show their work at the prestigious London gallery’s  HENI Project Space.

A group of people standing by some pillars holding a flag

Members of the Venice Bangladeshi community, from the local Bangla language school, at an open studio visit, Majhi International Art Residency, Venice, 2019

The recipient of this year’s inaugural award was announced in Venice (of course) in July – creating the third side of an international triangle between South Asia, London and Venice. Amol K Patil is an artist who works with a variety of media including installations, drawings, sculptures and moving images. He was chosen for the award on the basis of his work at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, an installation entitled The Politics of Skin and Movement; his work at the Hayward this autumn is a development of this theme. Durjoy says he admires Patil’s work for “seeking to bridge the gap between East and West, fostering an atmosphere of openness and embracing diversity.” Amol K Patil is also being supported by the DBF for his fellowship at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam for a year from September 2023.

To complement the artist award and exhibition, in alternate years, an instalment of the Durjoy Bangladesh Lecture Series, co-curated by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale Foundation and programmed by Hayward Director Ralph Rugoff, will be held at the Hayward Gallery, introducing key themes and figures from South Asian art.

A white gallery with paintings on the walls and a sculpture in the centre of the room

Arlecchino, Arlecchino and Mating Tigers, 2021, by Shezad Dawood, and Man in Shower, Porter Series, 2006, by William Kentridge, at the DBF Creative Studio, Dhaka

Durjoy often talks about his foundation’s work in terms of building bridges within and between countries. Indeed, references to water and crossings punctuate his discussion of DBF’s mission. Of equal and related significance are the affinities Durjoy sees between Bangladesh, with its maritime infrastructure and shipbuilding traditions, and the host city of the world’s most celebrated Biennale.

After all, Venice has an equally strong history of nautical trade and technology. And the businessman points out that it also has a “very large Bangladeshi community, because of the big dockyard industry. There are a lot of migrant professionals there: engineers, draughtsmen.” It is notable that, perhaps unlike some philanthropists in privileged positions in parts of the Global South, Durjoy considers all of his compatriots as equally important citizens.

Man in a black t shirt and blue jeans standing with arms crossed by a white wall

Amol K Patil, recipient of the inaugural Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation – Kochi-Muziris Biennale Award, 2023

In 2019, Durjoy launched DBF’s first major initiative, the Majhi International Art Residency Programme, hosted at Combo, a former convent in Cannaregio, Venice. This saw Venetian and Bangladeshi artists come together over two weeks to create collaborative artworks, present and perform. “The word Majhi means ‘ferryman’,” says Durjoy. “In Venice they have gondolas on their canals and in Bangladesh we have many boats on our waterways, too, so it makes sense. ‘Majhi’ also means ‘leader of the house’ or ‘leader of a group of people’, and I’d like the scheme to show a possible future direction for artistic endeavours in Europe.”

Majhi 2019 was also about nurturing local Venetian talent. Participant Andrea Morucchio is a Venetian artist whose practice raises awareness of the impact of mass tourism in Venice. His Covid 19-era project, Venezia Anno Zero, documented the serenity of La Serenissima during lockdown. “And we didn’t work in isolation from the Venetian Bangladeshi community, either,” Durjoy continues. “There’s a school that teaches Bengali to the Bangladeshi children in Venice, and the children came to see a performance by an artist from Bangladesh.”

Black and white photo of a group of soldiers with helmets wearing sweater vests

Sheikh Abu Naser, freedom fighter and younger brother of “Bangabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on the battlefield, 1971, by Raghu Rai, DBF Collection

Subsequent Majhi projects have also strengthened DBF’s connections with other European countries and institutions. DBF has a strong presence in Berlin, which made it possible to host the second Majhi Art Residency in Berlin in 2020 during Art Berlin, immediately before Berlin went into lockdown. In fact, DBF’s first collaboration, in 2018, was with German museum the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, to which Durjoy donated a major installation by Mithu Sen, the first work by a female Indian artist collected by a major German institution. The third Majhi residency was held in 2021 in Eindhoven, another city where the foundation has a strong presence.

A further recent major achievement of the foundation was the creation of the DBF Creative Studio. This former storage unit of Durjoy’s was converted into a gallery and space for limited gatherings during lockdown, as a way of exhibiting the wonders of the DBF collection in a safe setting.

White gallery with black and white photos of people's distressed faces on the walls

Photographs from the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, from the book Rise of a Nation, by Raghu Rai, images from the DBF Collection, shown at the DBF Creative Studio

Through it all, connections to Venice have remained central. In October 2019, following the first Majhi residency, artists involved in the scheme came to Dhaka to take part in the city’s first Italian Contemporary Art Days, supported by the Italian Embassy in Bangladesh and other partners. This was part of the wider programme for the 15th Italian Contemporary Art Day and “a prime example of how a cultural bridge can cross borders,” Durjoy notes. Meanwhile, in Dhaka, the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation works closely with the Italian Embassy in other areas – notably staging a vintage car and motorbike event to celebrate 50 years of friendship between the two countries last year.

Read more: Art Dubai opens in support of South Asian artists

What is the wider context for DBF’s work? The idea of “writing back to the centre” is a common trope in postcolonial literature and theory. “Writing back” identifies a paradigm wherein liberated nations turn the tables on the cultures of their former colonisers through the critical optic of art and writing.

Colourful cube sculpture and wall art

Black Square Breaking into Primary Colours, 2016, by Rasheed Araeen, DBF Collection

A similar idea underpins Durjoy’s thinking on DBF’s work, which is not just about building bridges but also about subverting what he calls “the Western gaze” on South Asian culture. “It’s not about blaming anyone,” he clarifies. “It’s just that when publications about South Asian art appear, the scholars have all been groomed within the Western education system, so you get a European or American perspective.” Within news culture, meanwhile, the Western gaze has been predisposed to find images of disaster and deprivation, particularly since the 1970s, when independence from Pakistan in 1971 was followed by a period of famine and hardship for much of Bangladesh’s population.

Five men stand by a sign celebrating friendship between Italy and Bangladesh

Enrico Nunziata, Durjoy Rahman, Atiqul Islam, Shahriar Alam and Anjan Chowdhury, at the opening of the DBF/Italian Embassy vintage car and motorbike event, Dhaka, 2022

Durjoy doesn’t seek to counter negative tropes within uncritically positive ones. In fact, he is keen to talk about how the British Raj and latterly the government of Pakistan – which took control of what is now Bangladesh, first as East Bengal and later as East Pakistan, after the 1947 partition of India – both subjugated national creative cultures. “It’s not only colonialism but achieving independence late, in 1971, that has hindered the cultural development of Bangladesh,” he reflects. “And the loss of connection with our cultural heritage was due to these same factors. During colonial times, craft and creative endeavours were purposely obstructed so that craftsmen could get on with work more useful to the colonial government. Then, after the 1947 partition, still other aspects of our cultural heritage started fading away, including our own language, Bengali. There was a revolution in 1952 to protect the language.”

Strange cat like coloured sculptures presented on a wooden bridge in a gallery

History/Cartography/Territorialism, 2023, by Dhali Al Mamoon, participant in the Majhi International Art Residency in Venice, shown at the DBF Creative Studio

Happily, many of these traditions have been reborn in recent decades, with Bangladesh’s millennia-old textile industry an area of growth, notably through renewed production of jamdani, a fine handspun muslin cloth that has become an emblem of national cultural pride.

Nonetheless, as Durjoy points out, DBF’s programme for his country’s ongoing cultural rejuvenation remains timely and relevant in a global arts scene seeking to heal rifts caused by imperialism. As Durjoy puts it, in a phrase that is reminiscent of that ferryman again, the foundation is “on time”. All aboard for the ride, from Dhaka to Venice, London and elsewhere.

Read more: durjoybangladeshfoundation.org

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A man sitting in a wheelchair, wearing red trousers, in a courtyard of a building with plants hanging over the interior balconies
A man sitting in a wheelchair, wearing red trousers, in a courtyard of a building with plants hanging over the interior balconies

Yinka Shonibare at the Guest Artists Space Foundation, Lagos, one of two artist residencies he has established in Nigeria

The Birtish-Nigerian artist and philanthropist is the official artist of, LUX’s partner, Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, at this year’s Frieze in London. In just a few short years, the Guest Artists Space Foundation spaces in Nigeria, founded by Yinka Shonibare, have seen art residences that are inspiring transformative creative conversations and programmes between artists, local communities, activists, ecologists and more. Will Fenstermaker reports

It used to be the case that if an artist working in Africa wanted a prestigious residency at which to hone their practice and dedicate uninterrupted time to their work, their best option was to look towards Europe and North America, where many programmes sought to address colonial legacies by strengthening a sense of artistic internationalism. A growing cadre of artists, including Kehinde Wiley and Yinka Shonibare, are now working to expand the opportunities available to African artists by opening residencies directly on the continent, especially focused around emerging art centres including Dakar, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria.

clothes on the floor next to tapestries hanging on the walls

A view of “The Politics of Fabrics” exhibition by Samuel Nnorom

One such initiative is the Guest Artists Space (G.A.S.) Foundation, a non-profit established by Yinka Shonibare that occupies two sites in Nigeria. Through his programme Guest Projects London, Shonibare has hosted artists in his east London studio since 2006, more recently extending to the digital space, enabling “a laboratory of ideas and a testing ground for new thoughts and actions in which the possibility of failure became an opportunity for artistic growth”, according to its website. Shonibare, who was born in London and raised in Lagos, was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004 for work that investigated postcolonial Nigerian identity, including whimsically ornate sculptures dressed in “African” textiles and shorn of their heads. In recent years, he considered how to extend his guest programme to offer opportunity, support and space for collaboration to artists within Africa.

A headless mannequin with a dress on it in a courtyard

A view of the inaugural exhibition, curated by Miriam Bettin, at the G.A.S. Farm House

In 2019, the project realised a kind of homecoming when Shonibare first conceived G.A.S., with two spaces in Nigeria completed by 2022. The idea is to develop artist practice and facilitate cultural exchange between the continent and the UK. “I realised a lot of local artists wanted platforms in which they could enhance their work and meet other international artists to exchange ideas,” says Shonibare in a video published by the foundation. “I felt very much that I’d love to contribute to building some of the institutions there.”

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The Oniru, Lagos residency occupies a building that fuses Yoruba and Brutalist principles around a central courtyard, and was designed by Ghanaian-British architect Elsie Owusu in collaboration with Nigerian architect Nihinlola Shonibare. The residency was made open to more than artists – its first class of 2022 included designers, architects, curators, economists and researchers, all of whom, Shonibare believed, were strengthened by a sense of interdisciplinary community and creative dialogue. “I feel that we’re creating a platform for conversation between local people and our residents,” Shonibare says. “I think you actually get the best out of creatives if you put them with people in other disciplines.”

people sitting in a circle holding as pink ribbon

A moment from performance artist Raymond Pinto’s movement workshop

G.A.S. also opened a rural second space three hours outside the capital near Ijebu Ode. Like the Oniru building, the residency in the Farm House, a sustainable building designed by Papa Omotayo with interior design by Temitayo Shonibare, strives to support a conception of culture beyond the visual arts. Belinda Holden, CEO of G.A.S. and the Yinka Shonibare Foundation, the residency’s sister organisation in London, says, “Ultimately, our mission is about breaking down barriers between cultural differences. It’s about building those bridges across different cultures and different practices, and allowing those conversations to develop into opportunities for the exchange of ideas and knowledge.”

A man wearing black trousers and a white short sleeve shirt with a black top underneath sitting on the floor with a geometric picture beside him

Artist Femi Johnson at work

Yet the residency does embody a certain remit. The pastoral property is on the site of a 54-acre working farm. Corn, cassava, peppers and cashews are all grown on Shonibare’s Ecology Green Farm, established in 2018. This July, the farm welcomed its third set of residents, having previously supported short-term stays for G.A.S. Lagos-based practitioners taking part in the programme. In 2022, as a result of its inaugural open call to artists and researchers living in West Africa, G.A.S. awarded seven funded residencies to individuals based across Nigeria and Benin. Raqs Media Collective was especially motivated by the setting’s ties to the land. At the G.A.S Farm House it established an outpost of the World Weather Network, a project that sees a global network of artists and writers submit “weather reports” in the form of works of art from a “constellation” of weather stations worldwide: In Peru, Luz María Bedoya and Pablo Hare record cloud, fog and associated sounds flowing over Oxapampa; in South Africa, four artists create odes to the Orange River; in Dhaka, in Death Valley, in Svalbard, correspondents from the London Review of Books send dispatches from the extremes of climate change.

A woman wearing a white and blue top painting on the floor with blue paint

Evan Ifekoya at their presentation “Water Is Life, O!”

During her stay at the G.A.S. Farm House, activist and spatial designer Mariam Hava Aslam began pickling foods from the farm, inspiring Apocalypse Pantry, a project that supplies preserves to food-scarce areas of Lagos. Berlin-based curator and researcher Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock invited artists to cook for residents and share their work over dinner.

Read more: An Interview with Maurizio Cattelan

“We’ve had painters, sculptors, writers, poets, architects. We’ve had digital artists, we’ve had archivists, we’ve had dancers, we’ve had sound designers,” continues Holden. And that’s only year one. “Our aim is that next year we’ll really shift our focus onto the farm and encourage agriculturalists who are interested in land, environment and ecological impact.” For the upcoming year, the foundation is looking to support people “who are considering food and ecology, or thinking about the materiality of the work they produce”.

Three people speaking including a woman wearing a black and white dress and a man wearing a striped yellow shirt

Discussing work by Emma Prempeh

From the start, the ambitious residencies have attracted an impressive amount of institutional attention – perhaps most significantly in the form of a recent donation of material from John Picton, Emeritus Professor at the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, University of London, and Sue Picton. Professor Picton, an expert on Yoruba and Edo (Benin) sculpture, spent decades assembling an important archive of West African art and ephemera, including journals, magazines, pamphlets and books covering Sub-Saharan architecture, textiles, sculpture and more, as well as African American and Black British arts. In 2022, Picton gave 1,500 volumes from the collection to G.A.S., a donation that has inspired the foundation to “look at the role of art libraries across Africa and the role they play in developing, educating and supporting the growth of creative and critical thinking and writing,” says Holden. To that end, this year G.A.S. is seeking fellows to be based in Lagos and focus their work around research into Picton’s archives.

A woman with a pony tail looking at a work of art hanging on a string with a man beside her looking at another work on the string wearing a green cap

A view of “The Last Time I Called…” exhibition by Ofem Ubi

In just a few short years, G.A.S. has become a beacon of artistic collaboration, cultural exchange and interdisciplinary dialogue. Shonibare’s vision to provide a platform for everyone has blossomed into a vibrant community that extends beyond visual arts, encompassing designers, architects, agriculturalists and ecologists. With its ambitions to break down traditional barriers that have separated the liberal arts, it has firmly established itself as a catalyst for creative and critical dialogue between two regions that have historically been defined by a very different, and much less egalitarian, form of intellectual and labour exchange.

guestartistsspace.com

Yinka Shonibare at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge, Frieze London
Fittingly, for an endeavour that grew out of his artistic practice, Yinka Shonibare’s presentation in the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at this year’s Frieze London includes a documentary that showcases the development and aims of Guest Artists Space Foundation. The film supplements a diverse array of visual works, including sculptures, masks, quilts and free-standing sculptures.

frieze.com/tags/frieze-london-2023

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Reading time: 7 min
Baby whales gathered together in the sea
Baby whales gathered together in the sea

Pilot whales in the Pelagos Sanctuary, which was co-created by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

As awareness grows of the need for a sustainable blue economy and for ocean restoration around the world, LUX invites thought leaders and experts to nominate their choice of individuals, non-profits and financial and investment wizards, whose efforts are helping save the planet’s troubled waters
A woman holding a jacket over her shoulder

Nathalie Hilmi

Dr Nathalie Hilmi, Senior Researcher at the Scientific Centre of Monaco, nominates:

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
This international non-profit organisation is the only foundation in the world headed by a serving head of state. It was founded by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II in 2006 with the mission of protecting and advancing the health of our planet for future generations, with a focus on biodiversity, climate, renewable energy, oceans and water resources. In addition to funding hundreds of projects, the foundation has set up initiatives to be a driving force in these fields, operating in the Mediterranean Basin, the Polar regions and the least developed countries. It works with scientists, other NGOs and world leaders, and has branches in 11 countries.

fpa2.org

Meri Foundation
I like the work this non-profit foundation is doing for the planet and our environment, promoting scientific research and environmental education on ecosystems in Chile and around the word. It has a vision of inspiring communities to consider a sense of belonging in their ecosystem environment, promoting a society in harmony with the planet. Its philanthropic engagements are stunning.

fondacionmeri.cl

A man wearing glasses and a black suit with a white shirt

Marküs Muller

Markus Müller , Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank, nominates:

Anna Katharina Meyer
Anna Katharina identifies global challenges and launches tangible initiatives, with a focus on sustainable finance and accounting, renewable energies and entrepreneurship. Describing herself as a founder, activist and scientist with heart and soul, she combines professional competences with scientific ones and is shaping discourse on a sustainable and inclusive future with expertise.

unitedsustainability.com

trees in a swamp

Heritiera fomes mangroves in Sundarbans, West Bengal, India. Sundarbans is a national park and biosphere reserve; carbon-storing, coast-protecting mangroves are an essential component of nature-based solutions

Rayne Sullivan
Co-Chair of the Youth Advisory Council at Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Rayne represented the US at the inaugural UN Youth4Climate summit in Milan in 2021, advocating for Hawai’i and Oceans. Rayne is also pursuing a JD programme at Stanford, with a focus on the nexus between climate science, responsible AI and traditional knowledge systems, to empower frontline island communities in developing nature-based climate solutions.

soalliance.org

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A woman wearing a necklace and black top

Marie Claire Daveu

Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs at Kering, nominates:

Conservation International
This NGO is a leader not only in its science-led work around the world, working on the ground to protect and restore nature, but also for its influence on global policies and within the business community. Its expertise when we set up the Regenerative Fund for Nature together was indispensable and its dedication to achieving a wide-scale impact on nature is to be applauded.

conservation.org

A man wearing a blue shirt holding fruit in his hand standing by a crate of fruit

Hugo Clément, from his docu-series, On the Front

Hugo Clément
The media has a significant role to rally awareness and support for the climate and biodiversity crises. French journalist Hugo Clément has brought these crises to the public through documentaries and investigative journalism, where his pursuit of the truth has uncovered corporate greenwashing. His long-time activism around animal rights has also brought this often overlooked topic into the spotlight. His dedication is far-reaching and he stands by his principles, which we need in our society today.

@hugoclementk

A man wearing a black top and blazer, with his arms folded

Chris Gorrell Barnes

Chris Gorrell Barnes, founding Partner of Ocean 14 capital and co-founder of Blue Marine Foundation, nominates:

Por el Mar
Martina Sasso, founder of this dynamic new Argentinian NGO, has used creativity and communications to advance a ban on open-net salmon farming in Argentina and delivered extraordinary wins by creating pivotal marine-protected areas in the region. I can see that Por el Mar will deliver outstanding conservation gains for the ocean in the next few years.

A penguin by the sea

Megallanic penguin at the Monte León National Park in Santa Cruz, part of a project supported by Por el Mar

porelmar.org

SyAqua
This, our first investment at Ocean 14, is a platform for our mission to transform shrimp farming. US and Asia-based SyAqua is a leading provider of genetics and tech in shrimp breeding. It provides farmers with virus-resilient broodstock, so reducing environmental externalities and make shrimp farming more sustainable.

syaqua.com

A man standing next to trees and grass wearing a suit

Christian Lim

Christian Lim, Managing Director of Blue Ocean, SWEN Capital Partners and Co-Chair of 1000 Ocean Startups, nominates:

Anne-Sophie Roux
Roux is a young but powerful voice in the global movement against reckless deep-sea mining. She and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance have been instrumental in changing the position of several governments, including in France and Switzerland. As founder and CEO of Paris-based Tenaka, she and her team have worked with partners to develop corporate responsibility programmes and nature-based solutions for ocean conservation.

people standing together weather pink t-shirts

Members of the Tanzanian Fisheries Research Institute being trained in environmental DNA collection for eBioAtlas, as devised by NatureMetrics

tenaka.org

Kat Bruce
In 2014, scientist Kat Bruce co-founded NatureMetrics, the world’s leading eDNA company. Its mission is to democratise measurement of biodiversity for different species through technology, to better align nature and markets. Disclosure: we have invested in NatureMetrics.

naturemetrics.com

A woman holding a microphone doing a presentation

Karen Sack

Karen Sack, Executive Director of Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, nominates:

Whitney Johnston
As the company’s first Director of Ocean Sustainability, Whitney leads Salesforce’s work on sourcing high quality blue-carbon offsets. Based in New Mexico and a climate scientist and oceanographer by training, she is a leader in developing high-quality blue-carbon principles and a key shaper of the Blue Carbon Buyers Alliance, companies committed to purchasing high-quality blue-carbon credits.

salesforce.com

small boats on the sand lined up next to eachother

Traditional line-fishing boats from the southernmost tip of Africa. The non-profit Abalobi supports small-scale sustainable fishing

Serge Raemaekers
Serge is co-founder of Abalobi, a South African non-profit aiming to elevate small-scale fisheries through technology, and empower them for social, economic and ecological sustainability. The name Abalobi means “fisher” in the isiXhosa language, reflecting its fisher-led nature. Abalobi has developed a digital platform connecting fishers directly with consumers, creating a more transparent and equitable value chain. Serge’s vision is to create thriving small-scale fisheries worldwide to feed the world sustainably, provide meaningful livelihoods and contribute to healthy ecosystems.

abalobi.org

A woman wearing a black top

Jessica Hodges

Jessica Hodges, Lead in Investment Management and Wealth ESG at Deloitte UK, nominates:

Net Purpose
Samantha Duncan’s London-based organisation is brilliant and was highly commended in the Finance for the Future Awards in 2021. It is a platform to facilitate impact measurement for investors and make it easy for people looking to invest, by collecting, cleaning and structuring data from thousands of global sources. This ensures a more transparent and rigorous approach to assessing the impact of portfolio companies.

netpurpose.com

A warehouse with good and machinery on the ground

LED lighting for a German warehouse, installed by UrbanVolt and financed by the Solas Sustainable Energy Fund

Solas Capital
Zurich-based Solas Capital is a specialist investment advisory firm founded and managed by Sebastian Carneiro and Paul Kearney, both professionals from the energy-efficiency financing sector. The company’s mission is to support the move to a carbon-neutral society through innovative financing. By understanding both the funding needs of energy-efficiency and self-consumption PV infrastructure projects, and the requirements of institutional investors, Solas Capital bridges the gap between investors and projects.

solas.capital

A woman giving a speech at a podium

Cathy Li

Cathy Li, UN Youth Advisor, nominates:

Klima Action Malaysia
This climate justice NGO was founded by youth activist friends of mine who work on the linkage between human rights and climate change. It promotes a rights-based approach to a just and equitable world and the climate emergency. KAMY works to empower vulnerable communities, including indigenous groups, women and youth, to participate in climate governance and decision-making.

klimaactionmalaysia.org

A woman with a fringe wearing glasses and a black shirt

Jennifer Morris

Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, nominates:

Vizzuality
Data is critical, but unless business leaders, policymakers and society understand it, its ability to drive change is limited. With offices in Cambridge, Madrid and Porto, Vizzuality is working on creating data visualisation and mapping tools. We need innovators like Vizzuality to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and we’re excited to see how its work on projects like Trase, which maps global supply chains leading to deforestation, and Marxan, the open-source spatial-planning software, can lead us to a nature-positive, net-zero future.

vizzuality.com

A man wearing a suit and tie

Ted Janulis

Ted Janulis, founder and Principal of Investable Oceans, nominates:

Lea d’Auriol
Lea is founder and Executive Director of London-based Oceanic Global, and she and her team made World Ocean Day a
global phenomenon. Lea has pioneered new programmes and methods of engagement, including Oceanic Global’s Blue Standard, a set of tools to help businesses eliminate plastics. Lea also always reflects light on others to acknowledge their contributions.

oceanic.global

A man underwater wearing scuba diving equipment and a wetsuit, taking notes

Titouan Bernicot, founder of Coral Gardeners, monitoring the health of corals growing in the nurseries. Once mature, the corals will be planted back onto damaged reef to bring back life and biodiversity

Titouan Bernicot
Titouan, founder and CEO of Coral Gardeners in French Polynesia, was drawn to action by seeing coral bleaching as a teen surfer in Mo’orea. He has built a community-based organisation that has grown and planted over 30,000 corals in French Polynesia. Their new goal: engage the public to help plant a million corals, and develop tech to accelerate coral restoration around the globe.

coralgardeners.org

A bald man smiling wearing a suit and tie

Professor Connel Fullenkamp

Connel Fullenkamp, Professor of the Practice of Economics at Duke University, and co-founder of Blue Green Future, nominates:

Partanna
Cement production is a major emitter of carbon dioxide. While some firms are working on carbon-neutral cement products, California-based Partanna has developed a carbon-negative cement from brine – a desalination waste product – that captures carbon while it cures. This makes it possible to build homes in the developing world that generate carbon credits for their owners.

partanna.com

A house with a flat roof and sunshine around it

Rendering of a prototype home in the Bahamas made with Partanna’s carbon-negative cement

Belinda Bramley
Pivoting to environmental consulting from accounting, Belinda brings business sense and the ability to speak the language of companies and markets to a field that needs it. She can analyse the needs of a project, organise it and build the case for funding it. She currently supports Hinemoana Halo Ocean. I predict she will become the chief architect of many sustainability projects.

conservation.org/aotearoa/ hinemoana-halo

Read more: Rapha CEO Francois Convercey on diversity and sustainability in cycling

A man smiling wearing a white shirt and grey jacket

Dimitri Zhengelis

Dimitri Zenghelis, Special Advisor to the Wealth Economy project at the University of Cambridge, nominates:

Kingsmill Bond
I recommend energy strategist Kingsmill Bond for his work on low-carbon transition at the US-based Rocky Mountain Institute. He has always been ahead of the game in predicting the speed with which we will adopt renewables and other clean technologies.

rmi.org

A mosaic style painting in different shades of blue and red

Winds of Change, by Sarah Bond for Rocky Mountain Institute

A man wearing a white shirt, pocket handkerchief and a grey suit

Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, founder and CEO of Alta Capital, an award-winning sustainable real-estate developer based in Hong Kong, nominates:

Eric Ricaurte
Founder CEO of Greenview, Eric is a pioneer in sustainable hospitality, starting in South America more than 25 years ago and building Greenview into a leading consultancy. Through his leadership, he has engaged some of the largest hotel groups in the world.

greenview.sg

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Reading time: 10 min
A pink jellyfish in blue water
A pink jellyfish in blue water

Summer Compass Jellyfish. Photo by Theo Vickers

The protection of biodiversity is becoming a key topic in the sustainability sector. Now we need to measure our economies’ effects on biodiversity fairly and effectively, says Markus Müller in an interview with Darius Sanai
A man wearing glasses and a black suit with a white shirt

Marküs Muller

LUX: How do we measure our effect on biodiversity, or compare worms with whales?
Markus Müller: We need to find metrics that account for local specifics but are globally comparable. There is a parallel with economic activity, because humans live, produce and consume locally, yet we have found global metrics to measure the economics of human interactions.

LUX: What is the most important measuring tool in the context of nature?
MM: One important metric is the Mean Species Abundance indicator, or MSA, which identifies the impacts of an economic activity on the mean species in a designated local area. It indicates the abundance of native species in a disturbed ecosystem relative to undisturbed ecosystems. Another measure is the Biodiversity Intactness Index, or BII. Both can help us obtain information around an ecosystem’s ability to deliver the ecosystem services we depend on, and understand the influence of economic activity on nature.

LUX: But won’t the MSA in a desert have a different metric to one in a rainforest?
MM: The ingredients are different, but it is about the amount of species. We have business activity in a location and from that we get data on its pressure and impact. That shows how the MSA is clustered according to the activity in terms of climate change, land use, nitrogen deposition, hunting, road disturbance and fragmentation.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Is the metric accepted universally?
MM: It is getting more recognition by various institutions and participants. However, our goal should not be to have a universally accepted metric for its own sake; it should be on accounting for local specificities with a methodology that, in principle, can be applied globally. It is not 100 per cent perfect, but, given the need for urgent action, as made clear by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, I advocate not waiting till scientists have the perfect metric.

LUX: How will the metrics affect business?
MM: When we know the effect of a business activity on the MSA, we will then know the biodiversity cost of the activity, and we can bring that into the decision-making process around it.

LUX: Is the aim to have a tax or other regulation on businesses that affect the MSA?
MM: Yes. The disclosure of a company’s MSA would allow the market to better price its exposure to nature– and climate-related risks, and take these factors into account for a valuation.

LUX: Would it work like carbon credits?
MM: Biodiversity credits are not comparable to carbon credits in a key sense because, other than for the actual removal of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon credits are used to compensate for current carbon use. Biodiversity credits must be purely an incentive not to destroy biodiversity, not to offset its loss. We can use economic incentives, such as reduced taxation, or a market system in which participants exchange credits.

LUX: How will the nature market develop?
MM: It will likely develop as we’ve seen equity or fixed-income markets develop. I would add the caveat that we should never monetise nature, but understand its value and what it gives us, so we can protect the value that ecosystem services provide, while enabling their uninterrupted flow. We need to prioritise the intactness of nature.

three pink seahorses in the sea

Photo by David Clode

LUX: How will governments regulate this?
MM: It is a question of the governance of nature. If we do not know how to govern nature, we also do not know what kind of mechanism to use to manage and assess its governance. For example, effective governance also means you need to include local communities into the responsibility of governing these resources.

LUX: Is there the desire among governments and voters to make this happen?
MM: On the one hand I think, yes; on the other, it requires uncomfortable decisions. So we need to remind ourselves again about economics and diminishing marginal utility. Humans will act in a familiar pattern for as long as the marginal utility is positive. We only change when it is no longer possible to proceed as we were.

LUX: Will listed companies make decisions based around biodiversity incentives?
MM: Yes, regulation is going in this direction. We see it with 30 by 30 – the initiative to create protected areas across 30 per cent of Earth’s land and sea by 2030. More than 100 countries are signed up. This development must not be limited to a specific region like Europe, we need a joint framework; even better, a joint narrative.

LUX: Is there a risk that companies make decisions based on one factor – biodiversity at the expense of carbon emissions, say?
MM: Yes, this is a risk of sustainability. We see it as a goal but, like economics, it is not a goal but a tool. Ideally, my role will be redundant in 20 years, as sustainability will be incorporated into everything. I think, in time, MSA or BII will be comparable indicators to CO2 emissions.

Read more: Leaders on Leaders: the people saving our planet

LUX: What would you say to an investor who says, “I just invest to make money”?
MM: I would say this way of thinking belongs in the past. We have to acknowledge that a high negative impact on nature is a financial risk as well as an environmental one. Nature-based risks – and opportunities – will materialise and have an impact on a portfolio. Companies not taking these into account, through an adaptive strategy, will have to pay a higher price in the future.

LUX: In five years, will a private-equity fund take MSA into account in decision-making?
MM: Yes, I believe so. I think it will play an increasing role in impact investing, but it will also play a role in the consumer-goods space.

LUX: If you were in charge of the world, what would you ask people to do?
MM: Go back to our roots. Think local, act global. Take account of nature, because we are a part of it. It is naive to disregard the system we are dependent on. We can’t do that any more.

Markus Müller is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

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Reading time: 5 min
Two giant men walking with a man in between
A man standing in a white shirt with his hands in his pockets in front of pieces of art on a wall
William Kentridge is one of the great artists to span the last century and this one. Recently the subject of solo retrospectives at the Royal Academy of Art in London and The Broad in LA, the South African maestro sits down with LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai to discuss extremism, absurdity and politics in art

Sitting with William Kentridge ahead of our interview, as an assistant takes our order for coffee and biscuits, I can’t help playing a little game with myself. What, I wonder, would I think the great artist did for a living, if I didn’t know already?

We are backstage at the Barbican Centre, London, in the staff canteen, a windowless space that is empty for the moment as it is mid-morning. We have seated ourselves at a small square table in a corner, beneath a couple of framed newspaper cuttings of theatre reviews. Kentridge is wearing a white collared shirt and navy round-neck sweater – as, coincidentally, am I. Well built, with plenty of white-grey hair, slightly tousled and prominent white eyebrows, distinguished and just a tad authoritarian in his demeanour, he gives the vibe of being a professional.

A painting of a tree with a sculpture in front of it

Maybe he is a lawyer, like his parents, two of the most celebrated human-rights lawyers in his native South Africa? His father, Sir Sydney Kentridge, represented Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia trial of 1964, at the height of the apartheid system, which saw the ANC leader jailed for 27 years for campaigning for racial equality. Sydney, now 100, only retired in 2013 at the age of 90. William’s mother, Felicia, who died in 2015, founded South Africa’s Legal Resources Centre, which gave legal aid to those being prosecuted by the apartheid state.

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But no; William Kentridge looks like a doctor. That’s it. I feel like I’m sitting with a veteran family doctor, a GP who has seen years of woes and is used to answering the same questions over and over. There’s his dryness, the sense that his mind has experienced the best and worst of humanity, his ability to anticipate a question and have an answer ready, delivered in a highly articulate, slightly deadpan way.

A man speaking to a man in a costume with a giant head

My silly thought exercise is no more than that. Artists come in types as varied as humanity itself. And I already know that Kentridge comes from a highly learned, cultured family of Jewish humanist professionals. But still, it does connect with something else: the breadth of knowledge, reading and intellect that is packed into Kentridge’s works.

In many ways, this old white heterosexual male (by current societal definitions), with a specialism in charcoal drawings, is an unlikely global artist of the moment. His show was the centrepiece of the Royal Academy of Arts in London last autumn, and he had a similar solo show at the equally prestigious The Broad in Los Angeles after that. Much of the political and societal challenges he explores are from the last century: apartheid, the Soviet Union. Kentridge himself is 68 this year.

A man standing next to a man in a costume wearing giant trousers

And yet his works, which range from charcoals to animations, vast tapestries to sculptures, theatre shows to his poster-like rubrics, have never had more relevance in a world where the absurd is becoming integrated into the cultural norm, and where the Enlightenment liberal humanism he displays is being sidelined by winds of unreason.

Coffee delivered and biscuits to hand (which are being nibbled at by Kentridge), I ask him exactly what type of artist he is. He is famous for his charcoal drawings, but he also creates stop-motion videos, animations, tapestries, opera and theatre productions, operatic films, operatic historic films… we are meeting at the Barbican because he is directing a series of short diverse performances here, developed by artists at his The Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg, which would, I tell him, for the uninformed viewer seem like quite a different art form to drawings. How would he explain what he does, in a nutshell, say to an ancestor from 100 years ago?

Two giant men walking with a man in between

“I would say I make drawings, which would be familiar from 100 years ago. Sometimes those drawings are set in motion as animated film, so, if we’re in the 1890s they might have recognised that. Sometimes those projected images are used as backgrounds for theatre performances, which they would have known from 18th-century theatre-projection techniques. And so sometimes they shift between drawing and animation and theatre production and sculpture. But they all start off as drawing. Drawing is the heart of it. Even if it’s working with an actor onstage, the logic is that of making a drawing.”

There is a precision in his answer, almost jarring with its immediacy. He gives thoughtful answers but doesn’t seem to take time to think – a sign of a sharp mind.

A man standing between two men with giant costume heads and the man is whispering to one of them

Walk around one of Kentridge’s grand retrospectives, like the one at the RA, or the simultaneous selling show, “Oh To Believe in Another World”, around the corner at Goodman Gallery in Mayfair, and you immediately notice how prominent the themes of politics and society are in his works. At the RA, a 1997 animation playing on a loop, Ubu Tells the Truth, referred to the horrors of apartheid South Africa, including state-sponsored murders. In Goodman Gallery, we saw glimpses of the brutality of Soviet communism in his latest film (of the same name as the exhibition) and other works.

And yet there is a feeling that Kentridge, while amplifying these extremes of negative humanity, is not ideological himself, not campaigning for some political end. “No, it’s not ideological,” he agrees, referring to “Oh To Believe in Another World”. “What it is, is saying, ‘Here are the paradoxes’; that something that started with such optimism descended into such instrumental brutality. And so it sets the question of how does one find emancipation? We understand that it’s not okay for the inequalities in the world to exist, but that some of the huge-scale plans to change that have really not worked.

A drawing of a man

Illustration by Jonathan Newhouse

“That’s the paradox it sets itself in. More specifically, how did Shostakovich navigate his way through the Soviet Union? How did an artist do it? It’s a mixture between making a space for anarchic stupidity and learning from what you do, rather than telling the world what it has to do.”

Speaking with Kentridge, you soon realise that every answer gives rise to another question, which is perhaps an allegory for artistic inspiration. I ask, for example, whether he is commenting on events in these works.

a yellow file note which says The Dead Report For Duty in large blue font

William Kentridge created the artwork The Dead Report For Duty, for this issue of LUX

“I don’t see it as a commentary,” he says, “because in a commentary you need a sense of what your comment is at the beginning. At the end we discover what it is we have made. For me, the most interesting artworks are the ones that end with a riddle. You know a riddle is the edge of knowing a meaning and you can’t quite put your finger on the right word, exactly what it is, and then you become complicit in trying to construct what it is, to fill the gaps, to leap over the gaps, and that’s the place where we are. One of the phrases that comes up is, ‘There is no good solution’. There are less bad ones, though.”

So am I correct to see a kind of dark, absurdist wit in these works, despite, or perhaps because of their subject matter: apartheid, communism in the Soviet Union and the Cultural Revolution in communist China?

A man dancing next to a man in a costume wearing giant trousers

“Well, there’s certainly an absurdism,” he says, and then qualifies it. “In England, the absurd often just means the silly or funny. I mention the absurd as a logic that has gone astray, and then following that bad logic with complete clarity and assiduity. And if you think of what apartheid was in South Africa, it was absurd. We decide who you are by whether a pencil will stick in your hair or not, and that will determine your future. So there’s an absurdity in that, but it gets followed through with all the violence of the state behind it. It would be impossible to describe what happened in South Africa without invoking the category of the absurd, so I find it a very central way of thinking. It’s also about giving an image the benefit of the doubt – doing it and seeing what happens. And that would be like in psychoanalysis, where you use free association on the basis that something may well come out, even if you don’t know what it is in advance.”

A man holding a trinket over a table

I mention, as context, that I feel I can understand his works a little because I studied Soviet history, and worked in post-apartheid South Africa as a foreign correspondent. Do people viewing his works need this kind of knowledge?

“Hmm,” he ponders briefly. “It’s like in one of the films at the RA, where there’s an image of headphone speakers put on a pig’s head, and then the pig’s head is exploded. If you’re from South Africa, then you’ll know that was actually an experiment done by the security police to check boobytrapped headphones – they put them on a pig’s head and blew the head up. If you don’t know that story, it’s nonetheless an image of extreme violence, dichotomies and the vulgarity of putting Walkman headphones on a pig and then blowing it up.

A man fixing a giant head on a costume and another person in a costume watching him

“I think people are very good at creating or either understanding or constructing a context – which may not be that accurate, but nonetheless fulfils us. So I don’t believe that you have to understand all the context. But it helps to understand what apartheid was, to understand there was a cultural revolution in China.”

I wonder what he thinks of the current cultural battles and universalisation of identity in the Global North. Identity was, after all, the basis of apartheid, its justification for an institutionalised racial categorisation that put white people at the top, black people at the bottom, and so-labelled “coloureds” and “Indians” somewhere in the middle – although, effectively, near the bottom. I mention that when I worked as a foreign correspondent in the 1990s, the only times I had been required to state exactly what race I was on a form, were in apartheid South Africa and left-wing councils in the UK.

A man holding an instrument and two people in costumes holding giant heads watching him

Do these conversations come into play in his works? His answer is, typically, a deep one that slides into a riddle before it quite gets to its point. “Not directly, but I think they do come into it. I mean, there’s a polemic against an identity politics in the world, both in the way I work with different people and in the way that if you say, like in South Africa, we had all those years of apartheid, of identity politics, black people must live here physically, this is the type of music they can listen to, white people can listen to classical music, black people must listen to jazz.

“Part of the struggle against apartheid is saying, ‘No, a black person can listen to opera, can be an opera singer.’ So there is a polemic in that. There’s a polemic in saying, ‘Why do you do it – art that is connected to politics, without it having a political message?’ It says it clearly: politics is much less clear cut, much more paradoxical, ambiguous. Much less certain.”

We turn briefly to the politics of South Africa, where the institutionalised brutality of the apartheid era briefly gave way to hope when Nelson Mandela became President in 1994, and has now degenerated into corruption and mismanagement. Is he pessimistic?

A man standing on some steps looking down

“I always feel that in South Africa to be an optimist or a pessimist is wrong, because there were two futures unfolding, an optimistic one and a pessimistic one, but the difficult future feels harder to escape. I made a film called In Defence of Optimism, which is about life in the studio: what is the optimism in here, in making something, in not leaving the paper blank, in resisting entropy? And that became a strong action rather than a theme. Downtown in Johannesburg, shockingly, they have seven hours a day without electricity, sometimes two days at a time with no water. So it means that the well-off have a generator, they have a 4 x 4 vehicle that can go over the potholes in the road, but if you’re anyone else your life is really, really difficult and messed up.”

But he is loyal. He is still there. “I am still there. And two of our three children are there. But so many of the collaborators, musicians, actors, are still there – that’s a strong pull. I would feel quite dislocated, I think, if I moved. In a way, I stay in South Africa because I don’t have to. Also, it is depressing when things are falling apart, but it’s a very interesting place to be. It would be interesting to see, when you see the whole series of performances, whether it’s, ‘Oh, my God, I’m just going to go home and slit my throat’, or whether it actually gives energy.”

two men having coffee at a wooden table

Is he disappointed in the ANC – once banned under apartheid but which has governed South Africa since 1994, and has, post-Mandela, proved such a poor governor? “Yes, I think we really messed up badly in the years of the Zuma presidency [2009-18]. And it’s difficult to get out of it – our new president hasn’t done much better.”

I say that I remember Cyril Ramaphosa, whose current presidency has been marked by corruption and mismanagement scandals, when he was an ANC negotiator in the optimistic years of the 1990s: he seemed like a perfect future president – wise, thoughtful, considered. “He was, and everyone kept giving him the benefit of the doubt, saying, ‘It just takes time, it just takes time’, but now it’s been many years.”

Read more: Christopher Cowdray on the Dorchester London’s Latest Renovation

Kentridge doesn’t give much away, but you cannot create monumental, moving works like his (and the occasional funny ones) without a big emotional burden. I ask, is drawing therapeutic?

“Drawing is completely therapeutic,” he says. “However bad I’m feeling, after two hours in the studio just quietly drawing, everything seems manageable.”

At that point, the powerful intellectual sitting next to me sounds, briefly, like any vulnerable, creative artist.

Portraiture and exhibition photography by Maryam Eisler

Find out more: kentridge.studio

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A messy bar that says 'Roth Bar' on it
A messy bar that says 'Roth Bar' on it

“Roth Bar” Hauser & Wirth St Moritz, 2022-2023, by Björn, Oddur and Einar Roth

As Vice President of Artnet, LUX Contributing Editor Sophie Neuendorf has a unique view of upcoming events in the art world. Here is her pick of seven shows to visit this season
A blonde woman wearing a brown jacket with her hand together

Sophie Neuendorf

“Roth Bar”, Hauser & Wirth, St Moritz 
This is a fully working bar designed by Björn, Oddur and Einar Roth, son and grandsons of Dieter Roth, who first ideated the bar in the 1980s. Presented alongside a rare self portrait by Dieter Roth, this Alpine gallery iteration is a dynamic and ever-changing installation and an example of the Roths’ cross-generational practice. This exhibition uses the gallery’s ground-floor space as a hub for music, talks, readings and simply getting together.

Until 9 September 2023; hauserwirth.com

“After the Mediterranean”, Hauser & Wirth, Menorca
This profound exhibition is curated by Oriol Fontdevila. It features seven artists whose works address the human and ecological challenges affecting the Mediterranean region, as well as the human capacity to solve them.

A woman running on an open path wearing a red jacket and purple bottoms

Excerpt from The Dido Problem, 2021, by Huniti Goldox

An island in the sea with a house built on it

Hauser & Wirth Menorca, Illa del Rei

Until 29 October 2023; hauserwirth.com

“Basquiat x Warhol. Painting Four Hands”, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris 
Not only is this an incredible space (designed by starchitect Frank Gehry), the exhibition promises to be one of the most notable of 2023, with the dynamic duo having created more than 160 artworks together. Also featured will be individual works, and pieces by major figures such as Jenny Holzer and Kenny Scharf, to evoke the energy of New York’s downtown art scene in the 1980s.

A drawing of two men's faces with crazy hair, one in a blue background and one on a yellow background

Dos Cabezas, 1982, by Jean-Michel Basquiat

A warped shaped glass building with a pool in front of it

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

Until 28 August 2023; fondationlouisvuitton.fr

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

“Georgia O’Keefe: To See Takes Time”, MoMa, New York 
Following the Thyssen-Bornemisza’s survey in 2021, this exhibition explores a different side to the groundbreaking modernist. O’Keeffe is known for her unique paintings of desert flowers and cow skulls, but MoMA focuses on abstract works on paper made with watercolour, pastel, charcoal and graphite, with associated paintings shown alongside.

A red and yellow circle painted above a green and blue line on paper

Evening Star No III, 1917, by Georgia O’Keeffe

A building with a white exterior entrance

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Until 12 August 2023; moma.org

“Keith Haring: Art is for Everybody”, The Broad, Los Angeles 
Astonishingly, Haring has never been given a museum show in the City of Angels. Inspired by Haring’s personal journals, the exhibition will highlight his engagement with social issues, such as nuclear disarmament, capitalism, apartheid and the AIDS crisis. There will also be interactive elements, such as a gallery infused with the sounds of one of Haring’s own playlists.

A red and black painting of doodles

Red Room, 1988, by Keith Haring

A triangle shaped white building on a busy road

The Broad, LA

Until 8 October 2023; thebroad.org

“Marina Abramović”, Royal Academy of Arts, London
I am a huge fan of Marina Abramović, so I’m thrilled she is getting a major retrospective at the RA in London this autumn. One of a number of artists, including Vito Acconci and Chris Burden, who experimented with using the body as a medium in the 1970s, Abramović pushes physical and mental boundaries to explore themes of emotional and spiritual transfiguration. The show includes physical performances of iconic works.

A woman with her hair back wearing a white shirt

Portrait of Marina Abramović

An old style building with a Union Jack flag flying on the top of it

Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, London

23 September-10 December 2023; royalacademy.org.uk

“Women Masters, Old and Modern”, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Nacional, Madrid
From this autumn, the Thyssen-Bornemisza shines a spotlight on ten women artists across four centuries, including Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Cassatt and Sonia Delaunay. Curated from a feminist perspective, the show focuses on groups of artists and gallerists who shared values and socio-cultural conditions and were able, despite the patriarchy, to establish alternative gazes.

Read more: Patrick Sun on LGBTQ artists in Asia

An old painting of a woman wearing a red dress showing her leg

Portia Wounding Her Thigh, 1664, by Elisabetta Sirani

A building with a large tree on the side of it

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Nacional, Madrid

31 October 2023-4 February 2024; museothyssen.org

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A woman wearing a pink shirt with puffy sleeves
A woman wearing a pink shirt with puffy sleeves and light pink trousers

Florence Kasumba. Photo by Diane Betties

The multilingual martial-arts expert and star of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Florence Kasumba, speaks to LUX about growing up Ugandan German and championing strong women

LUX: What inspired you to act?
Florence Kasumba: I grew up in Essen, Germany, in an all-white area. The only black people I knew were my mother and siblings. One day, my music teacher took our class to see Starlight Express. I was overwhelmed seeing people who looked like me on a stage and being celebrated by the audience. In the show, artists sing, act, dance and do acrobatics – on roller skates. I’d never seen anything like it. In that moment, I wanted to be a performer.

LUX: How do you navigate acting in three languages?
FK: I grew up in Germany, learnt English from age ten and studied in the Netherlands. I have done a lot of global productions and the common language tends to be English. But speaking three languages is one reason I have an international career.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Is your Ugandan German identity important to you?
FK: I was socialised in Germany in a Ugandan household, but I am more familiar with the German way of living. When it comes to identity, I walk through life as a black woman. I am aware of my appearance and have learnt how to navigate in different situations. Some are safe, some not. That is just part of my life.

LUX: How does a director get the best out of you?
FK: I perform 100 per cent. That is my duty. It helps when the director does not scream at me.

LUX: How do you get the best out of you?
FK: For everything that does not come naturally, I ask for help. If I have to speak with an accent, I work with a language coach. If I have to work with weapons, I train with experts. I will always give my best effort, but give me time and training and you will get my absolute best.

Three people in armour standing with swords by a waterfall

Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o and Florence Kasumba in a scene from Black Panther © Matt Kennedy/Disney/Marvel Studios via AP

LUX: What are the joys and pains of you job?
FK: I enjoy roles that need a certain physicality. Ayo in the Marvel films is one of my favourites as I get to train with the Marvel stunt team, which is fun – but sometimes painful. Like most people, I can feel insecure out of my comfort zone – when I need a skill that is not yet developed, or when dialogue has been changed just before I go on set. It used to bother me when people were rude, but now I know how to steer my focus to what is important for the scene. I am grateful I chose this path to become a performer.

LUX: Tell us about your character in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
FK: I play Ayo, one of the Dora Milaje, an elite troop of Wakandan female warriors. Ayo and her team are responsible for the safety of the King and Queen of Wakanda, and the royal family.

LUX: Are martial arts good for body and soul?
FK: I am not an expert on the effects of martial arts on the human body, but from my experience in Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chen, Tai Chi Yang and Qigong, my body has become stronger, I focus better and I am mentally stronger. Regular training has improved my coordination, flexibility, endurance and accuracy. I am more balanced and have less tension in my body.

Read more: Carolina Bucci on creating her own brand vision

LUX: What’s your favourite memory from the German TV series Deutschland 86/89?
FK: Working with the creative team was fun. We mainly filmed 86 in South Africa and working with actors who had experienced apartheid was educational. I enjoyed Cape Town. My favourite time was the scene in the safe house, when ANC members plan their next move. We were a lot of actors in one room and had time to chat between takes. This is how you get to know about people’s lives and culture.

LUX: How would you advise young people?
FK: I would say: work hard, stay focused, do not compare yourself to others, know you will make mistakes and learn from them. Surround yourself with people who have the same passion you do. Once you have found them, support each other.

Interview by Isabella Sheherazade Sanai

Black Panther: Wakande Forever is available to stream on Disney+

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A man in a suit looking at an artwork on the wall
A man in a suit looking at an artwork on the wall

Patrick Sun at the exhibition “Myth Makers – Spectrosynthesis III”, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Hong Kong

One of Asia’s bravest, most significant and most understated art philanthropists, Patrick Sun speaks to LUX about the challenges LGBTQ artists face in Asia, and who he is collecting

Patrick Sun has a light touch. When we bump into him at an art event in Singapore, he chats joshingly with some of the other collectors and exchanges thoughts on which parties to attend, or avoid. But his mission is anything but light.

A Hong Kong native, educated in Canada, Sun made his fortune in property development in his home territory, all the while turning his attention to philanthropy with a purpose. His Sunpride Foundation supports LGBTQ artists and art in a region where they have traditionally been sidelined or suppressed.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Sunpride has supported and co-hosted a series of shows entitled “Spectrosynthesis”, which started as the first LGBTQ themed exhibition staged in an art museum in Asia. Sun collects art from Asian artists with an aim to support LGBTQ creators. Beneath the light touch is a serious purpose, and an awareness of the suffering many LGBTQ artists face, particularly in more conservative Asian cultures.

A painting of two men with a white flower on one's face and a pink flower on the other's

Hollyhock and Pure Daisies, 2020, by Yue Minjun

Sun chatted with us after our meeting in Singapore. He has raised a great deal of awareness in a short space of time, but there is a long way to go in a continent where homosexuality is illegal in several countries, and has a cultural stigma in others.

LUX: What recent acquisitions are you most excited by, and why?
Patrick Sun: I can think of two that are each significant in their own way. First, Yue Minjun’s Hollyhock and Pure Daisies: a portrait of gay icon Leslie Cheung and his partner, which features two flowers that are not supposed to bloom in the same season, representing the love between a couple who are not “meant” to be together. Second is Visitors by Bhupen Khakhar. We have always wanted to collect Bhupen Khakhar‘s paintings, but since his retrospective at Tate Modern in 2016, good works are rare to come by and prices have skyrocketed, often reaching several times the high estimate at auctions.

A woman wearing a gold dress and crown standing with two other people

Artist Ming Wong, Patrick Sun and artist Korakrit Arunanondchai at the “Spectrosynthesis II” opening party, Bangkok, 2019

When we saw Visitors, a beautiful painting that was to be auctioned in London, we asked for a private viewing and got to meet a Sotheby’s expert, Ishrat, who is passionate about Khakhar’s work. The painting shows the artist lying on his deathbed, revisited by spirits of past friends and lovers. Ishrat shared how Bhupen didn’t paint any explicit scenes concerning his sexuality until his mother passed away. She got emotional as she related the story and it also brought tears to my eyes, because it dawned on me that the year my mother died was the year I started Sunpride. Ishrat and I cried on each other’s shoulders and did the utmost to help us procure the work, concluding the purchase just hours before it was supposed to go under the hammer.

A painting people in a box

Visitors, 1998, by Bhupen Khakhar

LUX: Do you only collect works by LGBTQ artists?
PS: As illustrated by the Yue Minjun work, the answer is no. We also collect works by straight artists that explore a queer theme. It is important to have such representation, so that nobody needs to be labelled or “outed” through their participation in our collection or exhibitions.

A man in a pink jumper sitting down speaking to someone wearing a blue jumper and grey gilet

Patrick Sun with collector Rudy Tseng

LUX: Is real progress being made on LGBTQ affairs in Asia?
PS: Progress often comes in ebbs and flows. On the whole, I see more progress than regress towards the queer community. Take Hong Kong as an example: on issues such as spousal visas, taxation and housing benefits, there has been some advancement in the right direction. Just in February 2023, transgender people scored a victory in gender status on identification documents. I remain optimistic things will change for the better.

a person walking in an art gallery

Installation at “Spectrosynthesis II”, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 7/F, BACC, 2019

LUX: Do artists of all types have more freedom and creativity than a few years back?
PS: I am not in a position to answer for all artists, but for queer artists in Hong Kong I believe the answer is affirmative. In recent years, we have had more LGBTQ themed exhibitions, both in public and private spaces. We have also seen more presentation of such works in art fairs and galleries.

Two people speaking to each other by a wall with a picture of a beach and paintings on top of it

Sun with artist Yuki Kihara at Kihara’s installation, Paradise Camp, New Zealand Pavillion, 59th Venice Biennale, 2022

LUX: What are the most exciting places in Asia for art?
PS: I think Hong Kong and Tokyo are two very exciting cities to focus on. Art Basel returned to Hong Kong in full force in March 2023, and the excitement was palpable and invigorating. I also have very good feelings about Tokyo when it comes to queer art: the sentiments are ripening for a more diverse and inclusive society, and a new art fair will take place in July 2023.

colourful embroidery and bowls laid on the floor

Installation view featuring Conundrum Ka Sorga (To Heaven), 2019, by Anne Samat, at “Myth Makers – Spectrosynthesis III”, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Hong Kong, 2022

LUX: Singapore is getting a creative glow, but will it catch up with Hong Kong for art?
PS: I have never felt there is a need to pitch one city against the other. If there is competition I believe it would be a healthy one. The market in Asia is certainly big enough to accommodate two or more art hubs.

A man in a blue jacket speaking to a man in a brown jacket

Patrick Sun with collector Disaphol Chansiri

LUX: Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the future of creativity in Asia?
PS: I am by nature an optimist, and I believe that a positive attitude helps attract the right energy, especially creative energy.

LUX: What are the most interesting advances in digital art?
PS: Interactive installations and generative creations are two developments I find most interesting. Both use technology to reach beyond capabilities of the human mind.

A man wearing a red and white turban in a dessert

Patrick Sun

LUX: Will AI kill art?
PS: I see AI as a way for humans to explore new horizons and perspectives. It is a collaboration between human and machines rather than a rivalry. I believe AI can enhance our artistic culture and diversity instead of diminishing it.

LUX: How have events in the past couple of years affected your mission?
PS: Our mission remains unchanged since the foundation’s establishment in 2014, but Covid has inevitably affected some plans. Our most recent exhibition, “Myth makers – Spectrosynthesis III”, at Tai Kwun, Hong Kong, was meant to be held concurrently with Gay Games in Hong Kong, originally planned for 2022. We were aiming for synergy between arts and sports to enhance acceptance for the LGBTQ community.

blue screens with people in a black room

Passion, 2017, by Jun-Jieh Wang, at “Spectrosynthesis”, MOCA Taipei, 2017

Gay Games postponed its event due to the pandemic, but we decided to stay put. With Covid-related curbs, it was also difficult for our curatorial team to reach out to overseas artists to commission works and to get them to fly here for installations.

Read more: Art Dubai opens in support of South Asian artists

However, staging the exhibition in Hong Kong, where our curators and myself are based, helped to minimise the impact of this issue. There was actually a sliver lining, because we benefitted in having a broader local representation; more than one-third of the artworks presented in “Myth Makers” were created by artists based in Hong Kong.

Find out more: sunpride.hk

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A painting of a devil with red, green and black paint dripping on the canvas
A painting of a devil with red, green and black paint dripping on the canvas

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Devil), 1982. Private Collection; © 2023 Phillips Auctioneers LLC, all rights reserved; © Estate of Jean-Michel
Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York

Eight monumental works created by Jean-Michel Basquiat when he was 21 years old are brought together for the first time in an exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, institutional partner of Swiss luxury watch brand Richard Mille. By Darius Sanai

What is it about Jean-Michel Basquiat that continues to captivate, 35 years after his death in the summer of 1988 at the age of 27? His art, for sure. Although he wasn’t quite the global superstar he would become after his death, his art was recognised at the time as being original, monumental, complex, important.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Then there are the societal and political themes. Born to a Haitian father and a mother born to Puerto Rican parents, Basquiat was, and arguably remains, the only black artist to have achieved global superstardom. The representations of racial oppression in his works came less than 20 years after segregation – a form of apartheid – was formally abolished in the US.

A painted black canvas with bits of blue and a devil with his hands in the air wearing red

Jean-Michael Basquiat, Profit 1, 1982. Private Collection, Switzerland © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo by Robert Bayer

And then there is the social context. Although many of the themes in his work are deadly serious, Basquiat was a pioneer and a high-flier in perhaps the most exciting art scene that has ever existed in the western world, that of New York during the birth of hip- hop, punk, new wave and rap. He was friends with Andy Warhol, sold his first painting to Debbie Harry (for $200) and made music with some of the biggest names in the emerging hip-hop scene. Basquiat was friends with Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash, as well as a punk-art crowd at the Mudd Club and CBGB. He also had a good fortune, or misfortune, to shoot to fame during one of the art world’s biggest booms, which subsequently went bust not long after his death of a death heroin overdose.

The 1980s are, in many ways, when the contemporary era began, and Basquiat, and graffiti poet, musician and multimedia artist, was a fresh symbol of the era, both in his works and his vivid social life, making Warhol at the time seem old and outdates to many. There is also the fact that Basquiat was making art in parts of New York that were run down to the point of abandonment – this is a city that declared bankruptcy in the 1970s – and which are now the site of the homes of wealthy art collectors, who may have been children when Basquiat’s legend was being established.

A yellow and blue painted canvas with a black painted woman and a body on the side

Jean-Michael Basquiat, Untitled (Woman with Roman Torso [Venus]), 1982. Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo by Robert Bayer

Basquiat’s life itself seems to be out of a fictional movie so cruel it could not be made. Inspired in art and poetry by his moth, who subsequently disappeared into a universe of insanity; a poet writing on walls with a sharpness of words and perceptiveness that could shock society; a socialite and charmer so handsome he was asked to work as a catwalk model and who counted himself as Madonna‘s first boyfriend; an artist of such originality and brilliance that his work s have grown with time; and a young man with countless pressures pressing down on him who died of a drug overdose in new York’s 1980s peak.

Ultimately, it’s all about the art, as this monumental exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland, demonstrates. “Basquiat: The Modena Paintings” showcases eight huge canvases, all over two metres by four metres, created by the artist when he was invited to create works in the Italian city in 1982, at the age of 21. Already a celebrated name on the contemporary art scene, Basquiat was invited to Modena by the Italian gallerist Emilio Mazzoli, who provided Basquiat with a warehouse space to create work for an intended solo exhibition. It was not a happy time for Basquiat, who later commentated, “They set it up for me so I’d have to make eight paintings in a week”, adding that working in the warehouse made him feel like he was in a “sick factory”. He made eight paintings, before a disagreement between the artist’s representative and Mazzoli led to the cancellation of the exhibition. The gallerist paid Basquiat for his work and he returned home.

A painting of a stick man with a body and top hat in black on a pink and blue painted canvas

Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Guilt of Gold Teeth, 1982. Nahmad Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo by Annik Wetter

It took time for the eight works to find homes – astonishingly, in retrospect, as they are now considered some of his greatest works, perhaps his greatest. The exhibition at the Beyeler was the first time they have ever been reunited and shown in one place, and the location is highly apposite. In 1983, a year after his unhappy trip to Modena, Basquiat was invited by Ernst Beyeler to take part in the exhibition “Expressive Painting after Picasso” at his gallery in Basel – a Basquiat work was on the cover of the exhibition catalogue. Years later, in 2010, the Fondation Beyeler, of which luxury Swiss watch brand Richard Mille is an institutional partner, held the first major museum Basquiat retrospective.

Read more: The Richard Mille Art Prize with Louvre Abu Dhabi

We can only imagine what Basquiat – who would be in his sixties now – would have produced had his life not come to such an early end; what contributions he would have made not just to the art world, but to the broader world of the arts – to poetry and to society as a whole, as perhaps the first celebrity contemporary artist. But in these canvases in Basel, his power and brilliance are compelling.

Find out more: fondationbeyeler.ch

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Reading time: 4 min
A wave crashing into the sea
A wave crashing into the sea

Photo by Ben Thouard

To achieve the Paris Agreement target of net zero by 2050, the world needs to shift to green infrastructure – now. In part 1 of our two-part series on making that change, Claire Asher shows how the public and private sectors can speed the move from fossil fuels to green energy

Giving up our addiction to fossil fuels will be the biggest energy transition the modern world has seen. It will require rapid changes to our energy systems and huge investments from both the public and private sectors, and it will be essential to ensure a liveable climate for generations to come.

A man with grey hair wearing a black t-shirt

Roberto Schaeffer

The first steps in this transition are already underway. By redesigning systems, such as heating and transportation, to use electricity rather than liquid or gas fuel, we gain the flexibility to generate that energy from a variety of sources. “Everything that can be electrified will have to be electrified,” says Roberto Schaeffer, Professor of Energy Economics at the Energy Planning Program of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Our future energy portfolio will likely include a mixture of wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, biofuels and nuclear energy, tailored regionally to match local availability, as well as social and political priorities.

“Our total energy use will decline significantly as we electrify transportation and heating,” says Anthony Patt, Full Professor of Climate Policy at the Institute of Environmental Decisions (ETH) in Zurich. Nevertheless, global electricity demand will likely rise as we transition, to replace existing coal- and gas-fired power plants and to replace fossil fuels used in transportation and heating. “We’re going to need a lot of new power, a lot of investment into wind and solar,” he says.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

In the short term, growing energy demands will be eased by improving efficiency. “There’s capital needed in the near term to help reduce energy wastage,” says Alice Miles, Head of Infrastructure Specialists at DWS Group asset managers. “It sounds a lot less glamorous, but there needs to be investment to upgrade to more efficient air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration systems, better insulation and better boilers.”

Balancing Supply and Demand

Compared with fossil fuels, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric provide a less consistent output that varies daily and seasonally, so matching energy supply with demand will be challenging. The most obvious solution is to store energy for later use, but installing batteries to store electricity is not cost-effective. “If you’re thinking about storing power from one season to the next, it becomes almost prohibitively expensive,” says Patt.

A man wearing a grey blazer and white shirt

Anthony Patt

Scaling up battery storage will also place pressure on global supply chains. Current battery technology relies on specific minerals, such as lithium and cobalt, which are produced in only a few countries, including China, Bolivia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although renewables promise increased energy independence, Schaeffer warns that, “with the energy transition, we may become even more dependent on a few countries because of the need for these materials.”

An alternative to large-scale energy storage is large-scale energy grids. “We need a grid that is bigger than our weather systems to balance out the regional differences in production,” says Patt. Weather systems alter wind speeds for days at a time, at the scale of hundreds of kilometres, so this will mean “moving from a national model of electricity planning to a more European model, and with a lot of grid interconnections,” he explains. With the right continental-scale planning and grid infrastructure in place, “you could install enough wind and solar in the right places, so that we wouldn’t have to store electricity,” adds Patt. However, this may be politically challenging.

Building a Diverse Energy Portfolio

“The number of sectors where it is cost-effective to electrify has only been increasing,” says Patt. But there are exceptions, such as the steel and chemicals industries, aviation and shipping. Alternative fuels will be needed to reach net zero in these sectors.

Biofuels, such as bioethanol or biodiesel, are one such alternative. “Biofuels can be engineered to produce exactly the kind of molecule we need for a plane or a ship, meaning that you don’t need to adapt,” Schaeffer suggests. “Similarly, some oil refineries can be adapted to also co-process biomass.” This has the further advantage of mitigating the inevitable obsolescence of existing infrastructure. However, the role of biofuels will likely be limited by competition with food crops for available fertile land and fresh water.

Synthetic fuels, produced directly from water and carbon dioxide using solar energy, could be used as an alternative to fossil fuels for sectors such as long-haul air travel and shipping. But these technologies are not yet fully mature.

A third option is hydrogen, although currently most hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels. “Really, the only sustainable option is so-called green hydrogen, which uses renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen,” says Patt. This method could be used in chemicals industries that require extremely high temperatures, or as a replacement for coal in the steel industry. Elsewhere, Patt believes hydrogen’s role will be limited. “It’s going to be much more efficient to just use electricity,” he explains.

Climate Change Threat to Energy Infrastructure

Energy infrastructure was designed to withstand climate and weather conditions experienced over past centuries, but the coming decades will bring more extremes, meaning that current infrastructure will be operating outside its tolerance levels more frequently. For example, sea-level rise poses risks to coastal fossil-fuel extraction and processing infrastructure, such as oil and natural-gas platforms and refineries; increasingly frequent and severe storms can damage energy transmission lines, such as overhead electricity pylons; extreme heatwaves and drought could impact the water-based cooling systems used by coal and nuclear power plants.

Existing infrastructure may need to be adapted to cope with these extremes, and new infrastructure will need to be designed to withstand the new normal. “We have to build infrastructure that’s going to be capable of dealing with a new world,” Schaeffer explains.

There is, however, an irony in some cases. “Renewables seem to be much more vulnerable to climate change,” Schaeffer says. This is because they rely on natural processes that may be disrupted as the climate changes, such as rainfall and air currents that drive hydroelectric and wind turbines. “It is paradoxical that fossil fuels are more reliable in the face of climate change,” he adds. Changing weather patterns may reduce hydropower output, by making dry spells drier and overloading the system during the wet season. However, computer simulations by Patt and colleagues suggest that the impact of climate change on total energy output from wind and solar will be small.

bubbles under the sea

Photo by Ben Thouard

Creating the Right Regulatory Environment

“From a technical point of view, the energy problem is solvable,” says Schaeffer. Renewable electricity is now the cheapest source of power in most regions, and estimates suggest that it could satisfy 65 per cent of the world’s energy needs by 2030. However, new infrastructure means large and long-term investments.

“The critical thing is to create a regulatory environment in which anybody investing in renewable-energy production knows they’ll make money,” says Patt. An example would be government incentive schemes, such as feed-in tariffs, which guarantee a fixed price per unit of renewable energy. “These remove the issue of market volatility, which has been a major impediment to new investment in the power system,” says Patt. “Solar and wind are cheap enough now that these policies don’t have to be expensive, but they are important to remove market volatility and guarantee a positive return on investment.”

Read more: Markus Müller on the links between the ocean and the economy

Recent global crises have underscored the need for a global energy transition. “There has really been a shift in mindset,” says Miles. “There were a couple of things that drove that change and crystallised the focus. The war in Ukraine was one, both in terms of the huge increase in the cost of energy, but also energy security, particularly in Europe; COVID-19 was the other.”

With increases in oil and gas prices, disruptions to global supply chains, concerns about energy security and the impacts of climate change becoming increasingly visible, more businesses and investors understand that the energy transition is not only needed, but presents a valuable opportunity. “In the EU alone, it’s estimated that the green transition will cost €350bn, of which €250bn will need to come from non-government sources,” explains Miles. “Investors increasingly recognise the opportunity to support the energy transition while generating an attractive return.”

How to scale up to net zero

To achieve the Paris Agreement target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, green-energy solutions not only need to happen, but need to scale up fast. This urgency presents opportunities for investors hoping to support the energy transition and see a positive return on their investment. “I think private capital will play a huge role in taking businesses with proven business models and proven technology, but which need scale, to the next level of growth,” says Alice Miles, Head of Infrastructure Specialists at DWS Group. “Without scale, a lot of these initiatives are just a drop in the ocean.”

A woman with brown hair wearing a black top with sheer shoulders

Alice Miles

The infrastructure for generating renewable energy, such as wind and solar, tends to have high initial investment costs, but relatively low operating and maintenance costs. Once operational, renewables projects can sometimes provide investors with stable revenue that is relatively sheltered from price volatilities. For example, power purchase agreements (PPAs) between electricity generators and consumers such as utility companies, set a fixed price per unit of electricity over a multi-year time frame, offering stability and de-risking revenues for the generators. However, in other scenarios, investors may be exposed to energy price volatility without recourse to protect themselves.

“There’s a virtuous relationship here, because there are investors with capital to deploy who want to see a good return, and then there are companies with proven technologies that need to scale,” says Miles. “Both of those parties can win – and we can all win – by finding the right way to route capital to the companies that can make an enormous contribution to the energy transition story.”

This article was first published in the Deustche Bank Supplement in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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two men standing next to a woman wearing a red dress
two men standing next to a woman wearing a red dress

Left to right: Philanthropist Durjoy Rahman with collector Maria Sukkar and LUX Editor in Chief, Darius Sanai

In the fourth of our series of online dialogues, Maria Sukkar, one of the most significant collectors in the UK and Co-Chair of the Tate Middle East North Africa Acquisitions Committee, speaks with philanthropist Durjoy Rahman, moderated by LUX Editor in Chief Darius Sanai. Their wide-ranging conversation covers the need to support artists from your place of origin, the western eye, and the emergence of new art powerhouses, among much else

LUX: Durjoy, you are from Bangladesh and Maria, you are from the Lebanon. Is it important to you to collect art and to support artists from your home countries?

Durjoy Rahman: I’m based in Bangladesh, but with collecting I extend to a broader South Asian perspective. We were an undivided subcontinent before partition in 1947, and to understand the development of art in the region, we must understand that context. My collections also include the diaspora of South Asian artists in Europe and the Americas, and artists from other regions whose practice have relevance to South Asian practices. Bangladesh has a long history of art but, because of colonialism – Bangladesh did not become independent till 1971 – much of our culture was lost. I recommend that collectors from this region start their art and philanthropic activities here, to restore lost heritage and give future generations evidence of our identities and history.

A painting of lots of people huddled together

Festival by Shahabuddin Ahmed a Bangladeshi painter whose works are part of the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation’s Collection

Maria Sukkar: I agree. I also think you gravitate towards artwork from your region because it tells your story, and it helps define who you are. I started collecting on a small scale with my husband when we were married 25 years ago, but when we moved to London it snowballed, and we collected art from everywhere. Maybe my relationship with Middle Eastern art intensified because it reminded me of things I love about my roots. I believe collecting art from the region one comes from adds a beautiful layer to your life.

LUX: Is there a dialogue between South Asia and the Middle East in terms of art?

DR: I believe so. The Sharjah Art Foundation in the UAE did a Pop Art exhibition last year, “Pop South Asia”, and the curator included work from my collection because it represents the development of Bangladesh art specifically, but also relates to the South Asian stream, going beyond to MENA and on to the European school. We collaborated with Art Dubai this year, and one of the curatorial topics was food politics and identity. We featured the South Asian famines of 1944-45, and how the colonial powers orchestrated them.

MS: From my experience in the Gulf, Dubai, UAE and now in Saudi Arabia visiting the Islamic Arts Biennale, there has been a huge effort to showcase different talents and disciplines, and there are fewer and fewer taboos. What you see is impressive and sometimes daring. They are mixing media and there is a lot of photography and textiles, and very impressive installations.

A black and white photograph of a woman in a shirt and black skirt next to lots of small photographs on a gallery wall

Maria Sukkar’s ISelf Collection displayed at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, showed many works from Akram Zaatari’s The End of Love series

LUX: What’s the best way for influential collectors, like yourselves, to support artists today?

MS: First, collecting an artist’s work opens doors for others to see them, and displaying works at your home with work by artists from other regions means people see the works in a different light. Secondly, if you can bring an artist to an overseas residency, they can do research, meet new people, visit new institutions and museums and return home feeling culturally enriched, ready to explore other avenues and create great work. Thirdly, you can sponsor shows abroad, both financially and by organising events around them. A fourth idea is to host events for visiting artists. When I know a Lebanese artist is coming to town, I open my home. Finally, if an artist is representing your country at a biennale, support them. It’s a great way to show your country exists. Putting a pavilion together costs a lot of money, so supporting the artist elevates them and makes some noise, enabling people to learn about your country and your artists.

DR: I would just add to support emerging curators as well as artists. And one important addition to the art ecosystem would be to support publications, so curators are aware of developments and practices of artists in the region. Publications will remain as archival facts, which are very much missing in South Asia – and much needed.

gold pillar with faces on it

An Eye for an Eye, 2008 by Ayman Baalbaki, ISelf Collection

LUX: Is the art world still judged via the lens of the Western eye, or are artists being validated via another lens that doesn’t require Western perspectives?

DR: I call it the ‘Western gaze’. The Western art ecosystem has developed very structurally, it is very professional in exhibiting and documenting what it has, and Western art education is very forward-thinking. So, the West has had the liberty to look at the South Asian ecosystem however it wanted to, and it has been West looking at East. But this has been changing in the past decade with so many developments in these regions – the Biennales, Desert X, museums and major art fairs. These activities are important catalysts to changing the Western gaze and shifting things so that the East also looks at the West. The West is also sometimes dependent on what is happening in the Eastern art market.

MS: In recent years, with the mushrooming of art fairs and the changing communication between countries and organisations, the Western gaze has subsided. If you walk, for example, through the Tate display rooms, you see the artwork is grouped thematically, not chronologically or by country, so you see artists from different countries side by side. So, I personally do not see that sort of Western look at Eastern art.

A painting of the bank of a man hunched over wearing red trousers and a white top

Untitled, 1994 by Hassan Jouni, ISelf Collection

LUX: Is there a barrier to people becoming artists in MENA and South Asian countries? Is there a taboo, that you need to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer?

DR: When you become a professional, you know you have a career path that will give you a living. Being an artist is tough, a lottery. Even in Europe, an art career was traditionally supported by the wealthy, such as the Medicis, because they knew artists needed support. So an art career was challenging a thousand years ago and it is challenging now. Maybe it’s more challenging, because today you have a lot of eyes looking at you from different perspectives – a contemporary perspective, a social perspective, an activist’s perspective. I think it is more of a difficult life than a taboo or social restriction.

MS: Being Lebanese, I think people of my generation would have found it difficult to choose a career in art. You had to pick a profession that would put food on the table. And I agree, Durjoy, sometimes it’s a lottery, sometimes you cannot find your niche. There’s a lot of competition and you can spend your life not making it. But I feel there are more opportunities for our children to be successful artists today. The question is, do we let our children follow their passion, or do we still dictate what they should do?

A painting of a blurred figure

Gandhi-IV by Shahabuddin Ahmed. Part of the Durjoy Bangladesh Collection

LUX: Many women drive the art world in the West, but the societies we are discussing are often patriarchal. Has that been detrimental to artistic development?

MS: I think patriarchal societies have left so many interesting women artists in the dark for such a long time. But hasn’t this been the case at the West as well? Look at amazing women like Louise Bourgeois, who had retrospectives in their late years. I noticed the power of women in Saudi, where they are incredible – a force – and one has no idea until one visits. If you look at the directors of many major UK institutions now – Tate, Whitechapel, Nottingham Contemporary – they’re women. Then there is the book by Katy Hessel, The Story of Art Without Men. So the tide is turning, but it will take time because change takes time.

DR: The South Asian art ecosystem is very much influenced by female curators, gallerists and collectors. If you name the top curators from South Asia, more than 60 per cent are female. There is a South Asia male dominance but, in terms of creative matters, if you have talent, if you have the energy, nobody can stop you. And I think women are ahead in our part of the region in art-related philanthropy.

A painting of a tree

Cedar, 2009 by Nabil Nahas, ISelf Collection

LUX: In the 1990s, there was much less global awareness about these regions artistically, and that has changed beyond recognition. What will these regions will be like in the next 30 years?

DR: Today, you could say the European art hubs are Paris and London; in America, New York and LA. In the future, I don’t think there will be major hubs, because so many things will happen across the globe. We will be more diverse, and there will be developments in technology and in the transmission of information. So, I think there will be a global platform in 30 years, not a specific centre like the Gulf, or South Asia or Europe. You will be a player in a global arena without regional or continental divides.

MS: I think what’s helping this is the curiosity the West has towards the East. Don’t forget these countries were very private for many reasons. Art from Asia and the Middle East was not always something you would see on museum walls in the West, but this exchange and curiosity is allowing people to visit, to come back with things, to unify countries. I think we’re on the way.

Find out more:

durjoybangladesh.org

www.tate.org.uk/acquisitions

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A woman with her arms folded wearing a white and blue dress
A woman with her arms folded wearing a white and blue dress

Sana Rezwan at Barwara Kothi, Jaipur

Sana Rezwan is a thoroughly modern entrepreneur and philanthropist, living and working in London, then New York, before recently moving back to her native India. Now she is upping the ante with ambitious plans to raise the profile of South Asian art around the world. Reaching for the sky is in her blood, she explains to LUX

LUX: Is there a new awareness of South Asian art?
Sana Rezwan: Yes, it is an exciting time. There have been many calls for the art world to be more inclusive in recent years, and there is now an openness to new voices. This wasn’t the case a few years ago. Museums and collectors are finally open to ideas from South Asian artists.

LUX: What is your focus as a collector?
SR: One focus is on South Asian female artists who have been overlooked by the market, or written off by institutions and galleries. Having spent the past year in India, I have met so many female artists whose work I feel needs global recognition. There is a chance now to open the barriers to let such artists come to light.

LUX: Which artists are interesting you today?
SR: I am passionate about the late Zarina. She used printmaking mediums, such as silkscreen and woodblock, and made print series around concepts such as displacement. I love Bharti Kher’s use of found objects to convey her position as an artist between milieus. I admire Rana Begum for her use of repetitive geometric patterns, inspired by minimalism and her memories of daily recitals of the Qur’an.