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“L’oiseau bleu”: Two Urban Canvases at the United Nations Office at Geneva to Embody One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Press Release


Two giant urban canvases will cover a building at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) starting 30 June, to embody the seventeenth Sustainable Development Goal on strengthening partnerships. Inspired by the natural environment of the Ariana Park and the symbolism of the Palais des Nations, Collectif 1m83, in partnership with UNOG, wishes to embody through this installation the United Nations’ call to action to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs).

Starting 30 June 2021 and until 2024, two urban canvases will adorn the facades of Tempus, a temporary building built in the grounds of the Palais des Nations to host international conferences during the renovation of the Palais.

L’oiseau bleu , conceived by Collectif 1m83 and the Perception Change Project of the United Nations in Geneva, is made up of five images that highlight the work of Japanese photographer Yoshinori Mizutani (*1987). The photographs depict birds with a bright yellow plumage that, at first motionless and solitary, fly away in small groups, before taking off in a cloud against the azure sky. The canvases will be displayed in the heart of the emblematic Palais des Nations, against the luscious green backdrop of the Ariana Park.

This work was chosen to symbolise the 17th SDG, which aims to strengthen partnerships between governments, civil society and the private sector, among others, for the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals across the planet. These two urban canvases invite Genevans as well as delegations from all over the world to stop and observe the world around them in a moment of contemplation, and then to move forward together.

On the north façade, inside the site, the birds, in their initial solitude, call each one to individual reflection and introspection. On the south wall, overlooking the city and the Place des Nations, the collective momentum of the birds refers to the importance of uniting and acting together for a more sustainable future. This narrative between the urban canvases was developed by Collectif 1m83, which is opening its third exhibition here. 1m83 wanted an optimistic and inspiring intervention. "To exhibit in a place as emblematic as the United Nations, in a public space, to address everyone. Through this installation, we wish to create meeting points with visitors, where they do not expect it, and initiate new dialogues around these themes that concern us all” said Didier Schwarz, founder of Collectif 1m83.

As a partner of the event, UNOG is delighted to present this project, which expresses a bright flight towards a better world. L’oiseau bleu or The Blue Bird inaugurates a long-term proposal that will bring the 17 SDGs to different populations. “The seventeenth Sustainable Development Goal underlines the crucial importance of partnerships between institutions but also of the cooperation and dialogue that we need between civil actors, societies and peoples. Let us be inspired by these exceptional works of art and reflect on the role we must play in our own worlds to achieve sustainable development for a better future,” said Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of UNOG.

The installation owes its realisation to the invaluable support of the Julius Baer Group. As a founding signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking, the Group is committed to taking an active role in aligning the banking sector with the Sustainable Development Goals. “We are very pleased to be a partner in a project that brings together values that are at the heart of our DNA," said Emmanuel Debons, Head of French-speaking Switzerland at the Julius Baer Group. “Calling on people, through artistic mediums, to contribute together in order to positively impact society and the environment echoes our philosophy.”

The realisation of this first installation is part of a general aspiration to create a series of 17 art installations that will be deployed in several cities in Switzerland to embody the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The vernissage will take place during the month of September 2021.

About Collectif 1m83:

Since 2018, Collectif 1m83 has been inviting contemporary photographers to exhibit their work in public spaces in an effort to show passers-by the interaction between nature, art and architecture. Each “urban canvas” is inspired by the history of the place and its environment, fusing together, during the period of renovation, a building with a piece of art. Cultural mediation plays a central role in the proposed creations. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, 1m83 invites the public to meet and exchange ideas around important themes such as public art, the environment, heritage and architecture.

About the Photographer:

Yoshinori Mizutani (Japan, 1987) lives and works in Tokyo. He studied at the Tokyo College of Photography as well as at the Nihon University College of Economics. It is after having completed the Tokyo Parrots series (2013) – from which these photos are taken – that Mr. Mizutani gained recognition on the international scene, where he received numerous awards and was invited to present his works in various countries (Japan, China, Switzerland, England, Netherlands, France, Italy, South Korea, etc.). The artist is represented by the IMA gallery in Tokyo and the IBASHO gallery in Antwerp, as well as by the Christophe Guye gallery in Zurich. To date, he has published four books, including Tokyo Parrots (2014).

For Additional Information:

Didier Schwarz Social Media

Collectif 1m83 Art art @1m83art

+ 41 79 688 69 78 #1m83Art / #SDG17art

Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal Social Media

Perception Change Project, UNOG @ungeneva

+41 76 691 02 02 #SDG17art