Balkoni is a Luxembourgish company founded at the beginning of this year by two friends in Luxembourg. It serves as a platform that brings together art, clothing and music by collaborating with different artists. For their 4th project, the platform got together with artists from Rwanda. Our colleague from RTL, Valeria Wiwinius, got a closer look at how their teamwork looked like.
The "Balkoni" company was founded by Luca Jean and Christopher Pedersen. At first, they planned on starting a clothing company, but after carefully analyzing the market, they decided to incorporate music and art into the DNA of the company. The name "Balkoni" hints at the idea of what the function of the artistic platform is supposed to be.
"The name comes from 'balcony'. What is a balcony? It's a platform that serves as an extension of a house. It's something that we also want to provide for artists all around the world. To be able to promote themselves and to show off their art.", says Christopher Pedersen.
The project is built on three pillars. First, they work together with the artist and create clothing pieces or objects that are interlinked with the artists' work. Clothes are an integral medium to deliver art to people. "A painting usually hangs on a wall in someone's home. It's nicely displayed, but not everyone gets to see it.", says Luca Jean. "If art pieces are worn by someone who walks through the city or someone who is queuing in line at a supermarket, more people get to see it. The artwork has thus gotten a larger platform."
The second part is organising an exhibition, where the clothing pieces or objects are sold in limited amounts. It is also a possibility for the artist to showcase the artworks. The third part is an after-party, which takes place immediately after the exhibition and is entertained by a variety of Djs from Luxembourg's music scene.
Over the last year, Balkoni worked on three bigger collaborations with local artists. For their 4th project, they looked beyond the borders of Luxembourg and worked together with artists from Rwanda. The connecting link to the project was their mutual friend, Elisa Bertrand. Elisa spent some time in Rwanda to do some volunteering work, where she met local Rwandan artist Kibe. Kibe is the founder of "Ikirunga Art Centre", where he brings children off of the street since 12 years, helping them see a different future for themselves through art.
For their collaboration, Balkoni created clothing pieces together with artworks done by six of Kibe's first students, who are now between the ages of 19 and 26. These unique pieces will be sold from 3pm to 7pm this Saturday 10 December at ChouChou, together with 40 paintings done by the said students. All of the proceeds from the paintings and half of the proceeds from the clothing pieces will go to Kibe and his initiative. The aim is to buy an art school in Rwanda, helping him to continue his project. After the exhibition, the evening continues with the after-party, where David Weitzel, Jos and Fonclair will be lining up.