Thursday 13 June 2024
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The Lavazza Calendar celebrates the value of collaboration through a journey featuring three African photographers

Three young photographers and three ambassadors, including Nobel Prize winner Denis Mukwege, describe an unseen Africa: a land full of energy, experimentation and drive inspired by its extraordinary culture and the diverse communities who live here

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MILAN, Italy – Three artists in a dialogue around the value of collaboration between people, organisations and ideas: the Lavazza Calendar 2024 is a choral project by African photographers Thandiwe Muriu (Kenya), Daniel Obasi (Nigeria) and Aart Verrips (South Africa) under the creative direction of Armando Testa Agency.

The calendar cover (Aart Verrips)

A Calendar that describes and promotes the concept of partnership in every sense, starting from the ability to be open-minded towards others – a reference to the Lavazza Calendar 2023 Yes, We’re Open – and going further to explore the beauty of collaboration, cross-contamination and joining forces based on mutual respect to create something much bigger: More than Us.

The physical and imaginary space occupied by the art project is Africa, the home of the original coffee bean – in the Kafa Region (in Ethiopia) – and several of the sustainable development projects organised by the non-profit Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation – established in 2004 and now active with 33 projects on three continents – but also a land of harmony, one that’s full of energy, experimentation and drive inspired by its extraordinary cultural vitality and the diverse communities who live there.

The calendar cover (Daniel Obasi)

“Over the years, we have learnt to work together and share objectives, efforts and achievements. Aware that alone we go fast, but together we go further. Through the energy of Africa, the cradle of coffee, we want to reaffirm the Lavazza Foundation’s true values and celebrate this intertwining of hands, talents, stories and experiences.

Multiple voices singing in unison. Because in the family, as well as in the company, we know that everyone counts, but more importantly, we have learnt to always count on one another.” Explains Francesca Lavazza, Lavazza Group Board Member, in the introduction to the Calendar.

The sound of pencil on paper has always been part of education. Clean graphite strokes capture nuggets of life changing wisdom passed on by someone who, word after word, has committed themselves to keeping learning alive. Everyone holds a memory of learning – the delight of having color and new perspectives added to their world. Education has the power to transform realities and open doors, empowering the dreams and hopes of a world in constant motion (Thandiwe Muriu)

In More than Us, photography is free to express itself in new ways, unchained from stereotypes and conventional visual wisdom, giving a voice to original interpretations that spring from the diversity of the artists’ stories and reminding us that Africa is not a singularity, but an expression of cultural richness and variety.

Gimoka

It can be seen in Thandiwe Muriu’s Camo series, where the protagonists stand out but blend into the backgrounds and vivid patterns of traditional fabrics, and it’s also there in the mellow, surrealist world of Daniel Obasi, who urges us to reflect on the concepts of activism, politics and human relations, as well as in the crisp, pared-down aesthetic of Aart Verrips, who is always searching for unconventional faces and new ideas of beauty.

Little stars create constellations: children are the main subjects of a fantastic portrayal in which anything can happen. There are those singing a tune and those waving a blue flag but, more than anything, there is a sense of freedom that unites them all and makes them part of the same story. A story of shared growth in which, on the shore of a sea of possibilities, a group of little dreamers feels invincible while building their own means of riding the future (Daniel Obasi)

Each photographer captured four images, drawing inspiration from the Lavazza Foundation’s sustainable development projects and the values of More Responsibility, More Sustainability, More Innovation and More Inspiration shared by Lavazza Group, its brands and the associations it works with to support the economic and social growth of coffee-producing communities and to protect the environment.

Amidst a reality that is clearly purple, a symbol of gender equality in all its shades, there is a woman and a hand ready to welcome her. The objective is to show us, in all her gentleness, how much determination she puts in challenging the norms of society. The scene captures a world to which we aspire. A world where achieving equality requires the participation of all, without exception (Aart Verrips)

In this way, the Calendar also celebrates the collective effort to achieve the Group’s four priority Sustainable Development Goals in the framework of the UN 2030 Agenda – Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth, Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production, Goal 13: Climate action – in the spirit of collaboration of Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals.

Our planet is a priceless treasure to be passed forward to the next generation. It is a collection of splendor and wonder, from the perfection of a blooming flower to the dance of leaves in the wind. From actions taken to the care that keeps us dedicated to things that matter – every small thing we do adds up to a world of difference. Together, we can witness the world blossoming (Thandiwe Muriu)

According to Michele Mariani, Executive Creative Director at Armando Testa Group, which has supervised creative direction for the Calendar right from the outset, “The Lavazza Calendar 2024 celebrates the precious value of the collaboration.

These women know it: the earth always repays those who fight to make it better. Each one of them has their feet firmly on the ground, secure as deep roots, and strong arms, as if they themselves were the extension of advancing nature. In fact, in this tug-of-war between man and the world those who do not loosen their grip are the real winners: the messengers of a necessary call to action, but also of thanks to those who support our land every day, with all the effort and commitment that is dedicated to the things they love (Daniel Obasi)

And it does so by taking advantage of all the pulsating energy and creative vitality in the African continent. This energy flows through and is nourished by the inexhaustible resource of cultural diversity.

Inside the warmest and most comfortable of shelters, the protagonist is at home. A leaf marked by the veins of the world that recounts, through each one of its lines, the impact of human activities on the planet. It is the snapshot of the moment of awareness, when we deprive ourselves of something to facilitate our growth. It is the first gesture that triggers a positive chain reaction on the environment, for which the earth will thank us with its fruits (Aart Verrips)

Tackling complex challenges requires the sharing of ideas, talent and respect. And the best ideas are the ones that spring from exchange and contamination, because as we all know, none of us is as clever as all of us put together.”

Innovation holds the secrets of the future. It is where we return to again and again to draw inspiration and birth more fertile grounds. The wandering of curious minds has the ability to unlock the impact of a simple seed, harnessing the power of its DNA to increase its bounty, dividing weakness and multiplying fruitfulness. From the unquenchable discovery of things not yet created, this new seed is the perfect end to the journey (Thandiwe Muriu)

The Calendar project’s guiding messages also resonate through the involvement of three ambassadors, three personalities who are committed to and active in social projects, and who believe in the idea of collaboration expressed by More than Us:

At the centre of a green oasis, the heart of the world’s interest, live the pioneers of the future. Unexpected muses who let themselves be inspired by the demands of nature, know how to listen to the world’s urgent needs and act accordingly. Effortlessly, they juggle the tasks that the earth requires them to perform and live in a sci-fi universe in which the real cutting-edge is simplicity: sowing dreams, cultivating hopes, growing resources and reaping the fruits of research (Daniel Obasi)
  • Somali model, author and actress Waris Dirie, a longstanding advocate against female genital mutilation;
  • Nobel Prize winner Denis Mukwege, the world-renowned gynaecological surgeon and founder of the Panzi Hospital in Bakavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, with which Lavazza Foundation collaborates;
  • South African activist Zulaikha Patel, who has focused media attention on the problem of racism in post-apartheid South Africa and was a laureate of the Young Activist Summit 2022.
Curious, innovative and constantly looking for better worlds, an explorer who is dressed like a flower, with vibrant yellow hands and the ambitions of a person who thinks outside the box. Immersed in a forest of giant trees, a symbol of creativity and imagination, the protagonist crosses the boundaries of what is considered normal. Which in this case coincides with the pursuit of excellence (Aart Verrips)

The More than Us concept will continue to inspire Lavazza in 2024, as the leitmotiv of initiatives organised to pay tribute to the 20th anniversary of the Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation.

Waris Dire – her smile is bright, welcoming, a beauty against the canvas of impact. Model, writer and Somali activist for women’s rights – a desert flower – she is the ‘dulcis in fundo’ of poetry. Standing tall in all her confidence she writes masterful words of change, spearheading the world’s attempts to be better (Thandiwe Muriu)

The Calendar provides a preview of this anniversary by presenting a visual interpretation of the Foundation’s projects as seen by the photographers.

Women of the Panzi Foundation (Daniel Obasi)

The landing page, https://www.lavazza.com/en/calendar-2024, developed with the creative direction of Armando Testa Group’s digital team and a series of podcasts produced by Chora Media on the main streaming platforms provide more information about the Lavazza Calendar 2024 project and its protagonists’ stories and visions.

Poised at the top of the ladder, a woman is ready to establish a deep connection between multiple cultural worlds. Zulaikha Patel, South African activist against racism in education, evokes a powerful narrative that extends beyond our individual experiences. Her story invites us to explore the wider intersections between art and reality, becoming a megaphone for this interweaving (Aart Verrips)

“We are very pleased to work with Lavazza on this narration of the 2024 Calendar” – says Mario Calabresi, Chora CEO and Editor in Chief – “Through the power of the podcast, images become spoken content.

A window on the world, with the voices and stories of the photographers behind the images.”

20 years of the non-profit Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation

In 2004, Lavazza set up the non-profit Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation to coordinate and manage social, environmental and economic projects in coffee-producing communities worldwide. Today, the Foundation supports and finances 33 projects in 20 countries across three continents, benefiting almost 190,000 coffee growers.

Through the Foundation, Lavazza Group aims to turn coffee into a huge opportunity for producer countries: a high-quality product for prosperous communities that respect and protect the environment in the framework of long-term, sustainable social and economic development.

The projects supported aim to improve coffee yield and quality, at the same time as promoting entrepreneurship among growers and improving their living standards. The route taken by the Foundation is to support the autonomy of local communities by valuing women’s work and involving the new generations, accompanied by the sharing of good agricultural practices and the introduction of technological tools designed to counter the effects of climate change.

The Foundation’s work also aims to diversify production as a way of combating soil impoverishment, and to support reforestation, which is a vital process in restoring the health of the ecosystem.
#moresustainability

More than Us taps into the collaborative approach that has always been a signature feature of the Lavazza Foundation: participation in multistakeholder organisations with a focus on sustainability, projects launched as public-private partnerships, and cooperation with other players, often in a pre-competitive framework.

The partners are NGOs, international agencies, local entities, traders and coffee roasters that work in their home areas and in close contact with coffee-producing communities, such as those referred to in the Lavazza Calendar 2024: Save the Children, Sawa World, Verdad y Vida, Cesvi, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, Fundación Carcafe, World Coffee Research, X-Farm, Qima Foundation, Panzi Foundation.

With this collaborative approach, the knowledge gained in the field through the Foundation also helps steer Lavazza Group strategic thinking towards sustainability. #moreinnovation

More than Us means being inspired by the Group’s Four Values, and specifically the sense of Responsibility towards the communities in which the Group operates, which is reflected in the company’s Community Care programme in areas where its associated companies and factories are located and, since 2004, with the projects organised by the non-profit Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation in coffee-producing countries. #moreresponsibility #moreinspiration

To learn more: The non-profit Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation has published its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which is available online on the Foundation’s website: www.fondazionelavazza.com/en

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