Activism Trough Art with Johny Dar: Jeans For Refugees and liberation during lockdown
Jun 11, 2020
Johny Dar is known for his ahead-of-the-game fashion productions and philanthropic ventures. Jeans For Refugees is the most acclaimed of these - a global, celebrity-led initiative supporting refugees worldwide, flanked by more than 100 celebrities including Ryan Gosling, Elton John, Salma Hayek, Sharon Stone, Cameron Diaz, Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham and Emma Watson, among others. The 2020 campaign video features a glittering array of stars and stunning denims and also the mysterious Dar, hand-painting a nameless sphere with a spectrum of colours, as if re-designing earth itself.
A talented polymath, and a passionate philanthropist, activist and humanitarian, Dar founded Jeans For Refugees in 2016, promoting inclusivity and the equal value of every human life - a message that evokes even deeper resonance today, given recent world events. As protests continue worldwide in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, it is a message with indisputable, universal relevance.
Dar’s artistic activism is not limited to Jeans For Refugees, which has lately earned support from Gigi Hadid, Orlando Bloom, Scarlett Johansson, Saoirse Ronan and Olivia Colman. He recently released a new music video as a response to the Corona pandemic. Be Free was Dar’s first single (circa 2017) and the first official track to feature his original sonic language (yes, he actually invented one) as vocals. With the appearance of Covid-19, Dar was struck by its relevance in the current climate, and invited Paolo Tossio to remix the track. Teaming up with video artist Mustafa Özkök, the team overcame the limits of lockdown to produce a new music video for the remix, combining original footage with dynamic motion graphics featuring Dar’s original art.
Championing values of peace and unity, the production seeks to inspire viewers to return to an innate connection with nature and each other. Following a lonely, locked-down girl’s journey from an outer world of chaos to an inner world of peace, the video celebrates the power of creativity and our unbreakable connection with each other and all life. A euphoric but reflective experience, the video reminds audiences to seek freedom and empowerment within, and ‘rise above the fear’ into a more conscious awareness of being ‘together’.
It is a message worth taking to heart, as we move collectively towards post Covid recovery and into an uncertain future, for which we are all responsible. As Dar's eponymous brand’s tagline reminds us - ‘we are where the future starts.’