ArtFabric: Change through Art

fluoro spoke with the founders of The ArtFabric, an initiative based in France and Brazil that uses art and urban culture to foster positive change.

Founded by photographers Fabi Futata and Eric Marechal, The ArtFabric brings art to the walls of marginalised communities around the globe. By collaborating with a diverse range of street artists, paste-ups are placed on walls within these communities, celebrating the stories of those who live there. The duo’s aim is to raise discussion by tacking “vital issues such as homelessness, use of public space, social inequality and the invisibility of marginalized people” through art and dialogue.

The artworks themselves hold a collaborative aspect and are often based on the communities that they are pasted upon. One notable project looked to a couple that had been living on the streets of São Paulo for three years and were expecting a child. Inspired by the photographs taken by Futata and Marechal of the couple, Brazilian artist Celso Gitahy turned an original image into a life-sized stencil. The image was posted on the wall next to where they had been living, which gave them strength to make changes to both of their lives.

As the initiative continues to grow and undertake projects in locations around the world, The ArtFabric continues to make a change to the lives of many, through positivity. 

(f) Why did you establish The ArtFabric?

(AF) We established The ArtFabric because we believe that art should be available to everyone, especially to the ones who have very little access to it.

Futata has a social photography background and Marechal has been involved with street art for over a decade. We decided to merge social activism, public engagement, art and dialogue, by bringing art to marginalized communities around the world.

f) Tell us about the artists you work with.

(AF) Out of the 430 artists we have worked with over the last six years, some have become regular participants and also became friends. They were interested in being part of this new project for which we asked them to produce specific works on the theme ‘homelessness’. We have a group of artists from Brazil, France, UK, Germany, USA, Australia, Spain, Argentina and Iran who are regular contributors to The ArtFabric.

(f) How has ArtFabric induced change across São Paulo so far? 

(AF) The results we achieve are often intangible. The smiles, the emotions provoked, the dreams shared, the imagination ignited cannot be put in a chart. We are often confronted with comments such as “what you do is very beautiful and inspiring but you are not changing their realities. You don’t bring them food, shelter or jobs”. This is true, and something that we make clear in our interventions, but what we do bring them is more subjective, poetic, something we like to call ‘Bubbles of Joy’.

(f) How does your other project Street Art Without Borders (SAWB) interact with The ArtFabric?

(AF) SAWB was created to stimulate exchanges of art between countries and cultures: an artist from France would be pasted on the walls of South Korea, Brazil, USA and a Brazilian artist would be pasted in France, Cuba, Italy etc. The idea was to show the diversity of street art, to fight against prejudice ideas about this form of art and also to give visibility to artists.

When The ArtFabric was created, we presented the project to the artists, some of which offered an active contribution by creating specific artworks for The ArtFabric.

The ArtFabric will continue to search for communities around the world that they feel can be enriched by art. Through bringing social issues to the surface, while also simultaneously provoking positivity in the communities they work with, The ArtFabric takes a unique approach to change.

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