African Artists for Development (AAD) started with a deep-seated conviction: contemporary African artists’ commitment to development projects is one of the best ways to secure a better future for the continent.
Set up in 2009 by Gervanne and Matthias Leridon in response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the endowment fund African Artists for Development backs community development projects associated with works by contemporary African artists. ECOSOC, one of the six main bodies of the United Nations, granted special consultative status to AAD in 2013.
Through this commitment African Artists for Development intrinsically links contemporary art and local development initiatives by promoting not one and the other but one in the other.
The goals of AAD projects are to spur sustainable economic and social development, increase well-being, boost living standards and bring about changes in thought patterns by relying on the effects of levers more than on the earmarked budgets’ size.
AAD provides the impetus and financing necessary for the maturation and consolidation of development projects and related art initiatives, but always rejects those limited to mere handouts. AAD projects are intended for the short/medium term; the point is to catalyse actions, not operate them as such.
AAD mixes worlds and confronts the economic and corporate realms with that of NGOs and contemporary African art through unlikely commitments that spawn incredible adventures. Breaking down boundaries between areas that would normally have little or nothing in common depends on encounters, exchanges, mutual enrichment and bringing different kinds of people and skills together.
Africa was a deliberate, well thought-out choice: although highly diverse and made up of many singularities, the “African” scene on which AAD is based has been conceived of as a totality. Instead of lumping everything together, closer ties are forged in the name of a geographical, cultural and historical choice.
The endowment fund is a committed private initiative independent of political, diplomatic or religious influence.