Graffiti artist BNE has traveled the world for over 15 years, leaving his distinctive mark wherever he goes. The BNE name has been scrawled with markers, rollers and spray cans, as well as mass posted via black-on-white stickers. In 2006, those stickers had become so ubiquitous on mailboxes, street signs and parking meters throughout San Francisco that the mayor at the time, Gavin Newsom, offered a $2,500 cash reward for information leading to the street artist’s arrest. This year, BNE decided to use his talents for social change, founding the BNE Water Foundation, a non-profit that’s working to bring clean water and sanitation to the most impoverished regions across the globe. He is now issuing a public call to arms to make good on a promise he made to provide clean water for 100,000 needy residents of Indonesia. The immediate goal is to raise at least $500,000 before March. “Much like graffiti in its purest form,” he says, “This is something real and very raw that was born in the streets.” Donations can be made here. Click through to read BNE’s open letter in its entirety. via: 12ozProphet
As many of you know, since early 2011 we have been working really hard to launch the BNE Water Foundation (known as Yayasan BNE in Indonesia), a non-profit organization like no other. To get this far, it has taken almost eight months of bureaucracy, a lot of hard work and about $50,000. We are now an official NPO and this is the start of what I feel is a true platform for real social change. Much like graffiti in its purest form, this is something real and very raw that was born in the streets.
Many generous artists including Estevan Oriol, Sabe KST, INSA, Shepard Fairey and others have come on board, they are among the first to have donated artwork. People have also started to support by donating cash and buying sticker sets which is much appreciated. What bothers me is that I have been hearing many people say things like, “That’s really cool what YOU are doing” or “good luck with YOUR project.” This disturbs me and makes me think that most of you really do not understand my intentions. I have funded this project for the most part by myself and will continue to do so for as long as it takes, but this is not something that I can do alone. I am simply donating my name, ideas, time and money to set this off. This was never meant to be MY project, this is something for the people. My intentions were to create something that everyone could participate in, and something that everyone could benefit from. I CANNOT DO THIS ALONE. The most I can do is give all of you the platform and opportunity to create something truly revolutionary. Without all of you, this will not work.
I have spent more than 15 years doing graffiti full-time for no pay, and like many of you I have no plans of ever stopping. Throughout my graffiti career, I have never felt the need to speak or do interviews, anything I needed to say could be expressed on the walls. In order to get all of you to act, and to become a part of something that benefits both our culture and society, it has become necessary for me to speak out. None of you will ever know what I’ve been through in order to travel the world, do the amount of graffiti that I’ve done and to be able to present this project to all of you. However, I think that through my visible actions over the years, I have proven to all of you my dedication to our culture and have shown you what I am about. Now, I would like to respectfully ask all of you, to show the world what we as a culture are about. Our culture was born out of rebellion and if any group of people is capable of igniting something truly revolutionary, it’s us. I would like to believe that we are about something more than ego, endless self-promotion and trying to make a dollar. Are graffiti and street art just empty visual commodities that have been co-opted by brands, corporations and institutions, or are we a culture that actually stands for something?
For our next project, we have promised over 100,000 people in an impoverished area of Indonesia access to clean water and sanitation. It will cost about two million dollars to complete this project. All types of artists and people from all walks of life are of course invited to be a part or this, but now I am reaching out to all of you specifically. I am asking graffiti writers and street artists to be the ones primarily responsible for changing these peoples lives. I have faith that I can rely on all of you to be the spark that blows this movement up into the massive force that I envision. We hope to start work on this project March 1st. If every single one of you decide to get involved after reading this, the entire project will easily be completely funded and you will have given us the much needed traction to move forward. I have always thought that it was a shame and a waste that we have never all united for a single cause. I am now presenting all of you with a chance to do that. I’m not sure how many graffiti writers, street artists, and fans of our culture are out there, but I assume we are in the hundreds of thousands at the very least. If we ALL come together, we can do on our own what our governments are failing to do. The fact that more than one billion people consider clean water a luxury is completely unacceptable.
Our goal is to raise at least $500,000 dollars before March 1st, but I believe that we are capable of raising the full two million dollars or even more. When united in large numbers, the power of the people is massive. With everyone’s support, achieving this goal will not be very difficult.
We are 100% sure to succeed if EVERYONE gets involved by doing the following things:
1. EVERYONE needs to make a cash donation. $5, â‚¬10, ¥1000, what ever you can afford, the important thing is that EVERYONE donates something. A $10 donation x 50,000 people is $500,000 dollars. This is enough to provide 25,000 people with clean water and for us to really get the ball rolling. At least 95% of you can afford to donate $10, so please make a donation and get two friends to do the same. Again, in order for this to work, EVERYONE needs to donate something. I don’t care if it’s one dollar or a coin, donate something and make sure you get someone else to do the same.
2. Spread the word. This is very important, please start by forwarding this message to other writers, street artists and fans of the culture. If you have a blog, Facebook or Twitter account please use them to spread the word.
Sadly, if enough of you disregard this message and choose to do nothing, then we will have shown that the world of street art and graffiti is made up of indifferent, selfish individuals who could not be bothered to help change the world. We will have failed in more ways than one. If EVERYONE gets involved, then we will have shown the world what true revolutionary actions look like. We will have also changed over 100,000 thousand lives in Indonesia, and jump started a true global movement for social justice.
4,500 children die everyday from water related diseases. These forgotten children are putting our culture to a test.
Let’s do this!
DONATE HERE and PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO OTHERS.