“I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD”

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The new Lavazza 2022 calendar, featuring portraits of six artivists, including an original Ben Harper, by multi-award-winning Emmanuel Lubezki

Presented in Florence as part of the Renaissance Awards

Dubai, UAE: The time for pause and reflection has passed, now is the moment to take action. It is this concept that inspired the Lavazza 2022 Calendar, to be presented at the Renaissance Awards ceremony in Florence. Conceived of and realized under the creative direction of the Armando Testa agency, starting with its title, “I can change the world”, the project sends a call to action for positive change – now, without delay. Interpreted through photography and music, it is a call aimed at everyone and told through the stories of six activists who, through art, strive to change the world every day, captured by one of the greatest directors of photography in the history of cinema – three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki.

I can change the world is the message that emerges from the images of the six subjects, all very different in terms of age, culture and geographical background, but who all have very powerful personal stories and the ability to express their activism through art. The Lavazza Calendar has seen them become true artivists, a term used to refer to artists who place sustainability at the center of their mindsets and their work, and who succeed in conveying it, through their perception and talent, getting directly involved. 

In keeping with the concept of “The New Humanity” coined by Lavazza, humanity remains at the center of the project, with a particular focus on humans’ ability to fully assimilate the values in which they believe, making such values an integral part of their lives. Indeed, the chosen subjects are six men and women who engage in social and environmental activism through different art forms: musician Ben Harper tackles social inequalities and raises awareness of the effects of the climate crisis; Saype, a pioneer of sustainable land art, produces monumental works focused on protecting the planet and social cohesion; Afghan refugee rapper Sonita Alizada vocally opposes forced marriages and the phenomenon of child brides; jewelry designer Shilpa Yarlagadda promotes and supports female empowerment; marine biologist Cristina Mittermeier uses photography to document the progressive destruction of the oceans; street dancer Shamell Bell fights to end racism.

The aim of the 2022 Calendar is to celebrate the stories of those who, with exceptional artistic talent, devote every day of their lives to putting their beliefs into practice to make the world a better place, and those who can offer us an open and uncontaminated perspective capable of freeing us of all the constraints that might hold us back from all coming together for our common good and that of the planet. We want to send a message of faith in the possibility of changing ourselves and, all together, changing the world,” declares Francesca Lavazza, Member of Board at the Lavazza Group. 

Lavazza is an advocate, but also a protagonist, of culture change. It embraces a new culture of sustainability, not only presented in the calendar, but also embodied daily through action, in what could be a new awakening to social and environmental sustainability, central tenets of sustainable entrepreneurship, as expressed by the Group mission: “Awakening a better world every morning”.

“Following last year’s calendar featuring multiple contributors, this year we have opted for a unified and distinctive style, capable of portraying and tying together our artists’ various personalities.

This is why we chose Emmanuel Lubezki, knowing the quality of his photographic approach, the beauty of the sequence shots, the poetics of natural light,” explains Michele Mariani, executive creative director of the Armando Testa Group. “Photography means ‘writing with the light’, and who better than a director of photography of his caliber to shine a light on the efforts of our artivists?”.

LAVAZZA 2022 CALENDAR

In its 30-year history of producing calendars, Lavazza has worked with some of the world’s top photographers, from David Lachapelle to Steve McCurry. For “I can change the world”, however, it turned to the world of cinema, choosing to work with Emmanuel Lubezki, known in the film world as Chivo, the first director of photography to win the Oscar in the category three times in a row. Lubezki was chosen not only for his undisputed talent, but also to offer a different perspective, a broader and deeper insight into the sentiments of the subjects, using an approach more akin to the art of cinematography than photography. An exceptionally skilled listener, Chivo gets to know his subjects in great detail, drawing out the various facets of their spirit and their artistic expression. He has succeeded in capturing the essence of the six subjects of the 2022 Calendar, producing evocative images of their social and environmental endeavors

But Chivo is also known for his extraordinary skill with natural light: the six subjects are each portrayed in 12 shots taken at six different moments of the day – dawn, sunrise, daytime, sunset, twilight, nighttime – resulting in six stories of light told by the Master of Light, based on the hemisphere in which they live.

Thus, the narrative structure of the 2022 calendar mirrors the ideal structure of the day, while also including different types of shots of each subject: the “landscape” shot, with the subject presented in a breathtaking setting that becomes the protagonist; the “portrait”, in which the focus shifts to the artivist, shot closer up, while still in the setting in question; and finally some images featuring details of hands, gestures captured in moments of particular contemplation, conveying the idea of the protagonist’s “deep reflection”.

The overall result is a series of portraits that are almost dreamlike, yet firmly rooted in reality. All the photographs feature the planet’s natural environments, some emblematic of the impact of the climate crisis, such as the disappearing glaciers, but always linked to the subject’s personality or area of activity, such as water for marine biologist Cristina Mittermeier, or rock for the powerful personality of street dancer Shamell Bell.

The effect is cinematographic. And thanks to the images and infinite horizons, the Lavazza 2022 Calendar enters a different, more intimate dimension.

This is the intention of the 2022 Calendar, which, through Master Lubezki’s lens, reminds us of the power of the natural world we are putting at risk, and speaks to the heart by showing us the values and willpower of the artivists portrayed, ideally moving us to join them and take action, in the knowledge that each of us can truly change the world

A VALUE-BASED PARTNERSHIP

“I can change the world” is also the message embraced by Eco Age [an international agency for the development of sustainable business strategies] at The Renaissance Awards, the first global award dedicated to young sustainability leaders, with whom the Lavazza Group has partnered for this edition of the 2022 Calendar project. The official press launch of the Lavazza 2022 Calendar, “I can change the world”, will take place on 11 October at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, an event that will also see a preview of the Renaissance Awards film being screened for an audience of international guests. 

“We are pleased to have found, in Eco-Age, an ally in our decision to take young people as our key source of inspiration: 2022 will be an important year for concrete action, a year in which people must grow stronger in order to reshape the future: we believe in young people and we really wanted to include them as protagonists in our calendar, because they have the ability to show us, by example, how they see the future, how they will shape the future,” explains Francesca Lavazza. “Also, Shilpa Yarlagadda reinforces the link with the Renaissance Awards, acting as an ambassador for both projects. The young designer is one of the subjects of the Lavazza Calendar and is also official mentor for the Young Leaders recognized at the awards.”

“We cherish the partnership with the Lavazza Calendar on the occasion of this year’s Renaissance Awards” – states Livia Firth, Creative Director and Co-Founder at Eco Age – “It is a beautiful collaboration in the name of young talents, empowerment, and new visions for a better future. The bond is even stronger with two talents featuring in both, Ben Harper and Shilpa Yarlagadda – both exemplifying the true meaning of “I can change the world”. 

About Lavazza Group:

Lavazza, founded in Turin in 1895, has been owned by the Lavazza family for four generations. As one of the world’s most important coffee roasters, the Group now operates in more than 140 countries through its subsidiaries and distributors, with 70% of revenues generated abroad and a total of over 4,000 employees. 

Companies that form part of the Lavazza Group include France’s Carte Noire and ESP (acquired in 2016 and 2017 respectively), Denmark’s Merrild (2015), North America’s Kicking Horse Coffee (2017), Italy’s Nims (2017), and the business of Australia’s Blue Pod Coffee Co (2018). At the end of 2018, following an acquisition, the Lavazza Professional Business Unit was created, which includes the Office Coffee Service (OCS) and Vending systems Flavia and Klix.  

I can change the world 

The narrative thread of the 2022 Calendar takes as its starting point the concept of “The New Humanity”, developed by Lavazza and still realized under the creative direction of the Armando Testa agency in the spring of 2020, right when the company decided to take a stand and use its communication campaigns to champion values indispensable to a future renaissance of humanity: inclusivity, tolerance, solidarity and social and environmental sustainability. With projects such as the international Good Morning Humanity campaign and the 2021 “The New Humanity” Calendar, Lavazza sought to encourage reflection by raising awareness of the universality of such values.  With “I can change the world”, Lavazza aims to convey the importance of transforming principles into action, offering the compelling example of six extraordinary talents capable of inspiring each of us to have faith in ourselves and believe in the possibility of contributing in a concrete way to changing in the world and making it a better place. 

Last year, after Paris and Berlin, The New Humanity project also reached Turin, with the land art project “Beyond Walls” by artist Saype: two hands grasping each other, inviting us to make a collective effort to feel like a living part of a single ecosystem “in the greatest human chain in history”. 

Saype returns in the 2022 Calendar, as part of a series of ongoing collaborations based on shared values; another example is the collaboration with Ben Harper, who contributed his song “With my own two hands” to the Lavazza ¡Tierra! Bio-Organic launch campaign. One of the artist’s most famous songs, like Saype’s project it focuses on the hands, symbolizing the musician’s belief in the importance of each one of us taking action to make the world a better place. A language and concept that Lavazza combines with its know-how as a company that pursues excellence and its commitment to incorporating economic, environmental and social sustainability into its way of working.

This commitment is embodied by the new Blend for Better concept, which embraces the sustainability initiatives of the Group, starting from its most basic foundational values right through to its current commitment: not just to produce excellent quality coffee, but to do so in a responsible way. Indeed, “Blend for Better” reflects the Group’s commitment to combine values, experience and the sustainability activities engaged in by its brands and products to generate shared value for society, individuals and the environment. This combination gives rise to a new way of looking at value creation, which when it comes to company decision-making, involves social and environmental, as well as economic, considerations. All in the context of a true journey, reflected in the recently published seventh Lavazza Group Sustainability Report “A goal in every cup – Leaving no one behind” and the commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda.

EMMANUEL LUBEZKI

One of the most innovative and influential cinematographers in contemporary film

Our world is fragile, beautiful. Sometimes we forget. This edition highlights six artists and activists who are committed to change. My process begins in dialogue. How do you want to be photographed and where? My job is to translate their vision into images. Each image contains a personal secret, an evocation.

Our locations across the globe were impacted by climate change. The shoots exposed us to alarming realities: glacial lakes that disappeared overnight, roads hot enough to melt tires. It made me terribly aware of how desperately we need the voices of these activists. Their work challenges us, creates community, makes us readier for the world’s beauty, stronger against its dangers. Ice is nearly gone, kelp has taken over the oceans. It is our duty as artists, as creators, as businesses, to bring these truths to the forefront and address them. And to celebrate those working for change, and to join them, as Ben Harper sings — with our own two hands. Thank you, Lavazza, for inviting me on this journey. 

About me

Born in Mexico, Emmanuel Lubezki is one of the most innovative and influential cinematographers in contemporary film. Widely known for his use of natural lighting and continuous uninterrupted shots, Lubezki won three consecutive Academy Awards for his work on Gravity, (2014) Birdman, (2015) and The Revenant (2016). He brings this same mastery of natural light and composition to his work as a still photographer. In 2019, he shot the cover for Vanity Fair magazine’s Hollywood issue — a first for a cinematographer. An inveterate traveler, making portraits has always been a passion for Lubezki, more deeply connecting him to the world and its mysteries. Like his celebrated moving images, his stills are immersive and poetic. While galleries clamor for his photographic work, he often posts quietly on Instagram, where he’s won a large following. 

BEN HARPER

Musician, artist and activist, one of the most versatile and eclectic figures on the world music scene.

January – February

Ben Harper has specially worked on a remake of his own song “With my own two hands” for the musical accompaniment of the video clip for the Lavazza 2022 Calendar project. A real invitation to everyone to take action to change the world: the words of Ben Harper’s song bring to life the artist’s call to action in favour of the planet and human beings. 

I’m gonna make (the world) a brighter place, (With my own)
I’m gonna make it a safer place, (With my own)
I’m gonna help the human race, (With my own)

Personal claim 

“Activism, music and spirituality are a wonderful trinity. Spirituality is the arrival point of my pursuit, music is my method of understanding how to get there and activism is a way of ensuring that I don’t stop.”

About me

I was eighteen when I grabbed my guitar and a rucksack and got on a plane to London and started my musical journey.  I hoped that one component to my music could be a form of conversation with a world that needs to be preserved.  “With My Own Two Hands” reflects my deep desire to protect the environment while fighting social and cultural disparities.  I wanted to describe the change that people can make with their own two hands, to collectively make the world a brighter place.  As a musician, I think there is a way to present art that can be a window to a perspective, and I feel a responsibility to keep that window clean and open.

SONITA ALIZADA

Rapper, Activist and Advocate for Human Rights and the Abolition of Forced Child Marriage.

March – April 

Personal claim 

“Every year more than 12 million girls are married before the age of 18 – that is one girl every 3 seconds. Currently, more than 650 million women suffer from the effects of child marriage. I fight to change this outcome for girls everywhere, to ensure that every girl has the opportunity to chose her own future.”

About me

I was born in Herat, Afghanistan under the reign of the Taliban regime. My family walked hundreds of miles in the rain and snow to escape. I grew up an impoverished, undocumented refugee child laborer. At the age of 10, I was sold into forced marriage. The contract fell through. My family again tried to sell me when I was sixteen, I escaped. Witnessing the injustices of the world, and my friends swiftly disappearing as they were forced to marry, I wrote the song, “Daughters for Sale”. With the aid of an Iranian filmmaker, a music video was recorded and my life was documented in the award-winning film, Sonita. I now attend Bard College in the United States. I advocate and rap on a human rights platform to end the practice of child marriage and help save the lives of the next generation of girls.

CRISTINA MITTERMEIER

Marine biologist, activist, National Geographic photographer and pioneer of “conservation photographer”.

May – June 

Personal claim 

“While we all are terrestrial creatures, many of us have forgotten that we are here because of the sea. When people call me an environmentalist or an activist or ask why I care so much, I am always surprised. How can we not all be activists? Being passive, for me, has never been an option. We exist because of the cradling embrace of both land and sea.”

About me

I grew up in a landlocked city in the mountains of central Mexico but, despite this, I fell in love with the ocean at an early age: I chose to study science as a way to immerse myself into that world and it didn’t take long to discover that oceans need serious help. At a certain point, I knew that I’d spend my life doing everything in my power to protect the oceans and all the creatures that make it a living ecosystem.

Today, I use photography to create a global movement of ocean advocates that has become strong, but not enough. We need more people to realize that the health of our seas determines the health of our planet: this is our only home and, for us to thrive, it must too.

SHAMELL BELL

American-born street dance activist, founder of ‘The Balance Collective’, a group of dancers and artists who through their art fight against racism.

July – August 

Personal claim 

“Most people don’t want true freedom for all. They just don’t want to be the most oppressed. It’s not enough to be free of oppression, we must all co-choreograph our freedom dreams alongside each other, weaving love into all of our daily movements. As we dance our lives together, we are lifting frequencies and lifting vibrations that, with action, will create a shift in the world.”

About me

I am a “Visionary Instigator” of Street Dance Activism and Global Dance Meditation for Black Liberation. My work situates street dance as grassroots political action from my perspectives as a scholar, dancer, and choreographer and my research examines street dance movements in South Central Los Angeles through an autoethnographic and performance studies lens. I always wanted to make sure that whatever I spoke to in my dissertation spoke directly to my community, so I had to write about street dance activism, describing it as mechanism to temporize the relationships between identity and difference, between the past and the present, for the future. Today, through dance, meditation, and collective action, I want to lead people in a process of transcendence and transformation that shifts them towards a new vision and a dance piece of liberation. 

SHILPA YARLAGADDA

A young entrepreneur, jewellery designer, through her non-profit ‘Startup Girl Foundation’, she donates half of her profits to companies that support the empowerment of women. Shilpa is one of the artivists of the Lavazza 2022 Calendar project and also a mentor for the Renaissance Awards.

September – October
Personal claim 

“We live in a time when the more we do to enable and empower others, the better our world becomes.”

About me

I grew up in Silicon Valley and I saw how much inequality women faced at every step of their journey to achieving big dreams. Thought I was just a college student, I knew if we want to live in a world that is equal, we have to be feminists and fight for the change we wish to see. Jewelry, like so many other industries, was also a male dominated field in which profits were not supporting our world and giving back to women who deserved equal opportunities in business: therefore I created my company Shiffon Co. Today, as a young female entrepreneur, I want to create a world in which young girls grow up knowing they can follow their passions with the support of a worldwide network of strong women.

SAYPE

November – December

Saype is one of the world’s 30 most influential young people in the field of art and culture. The Swiss-franc land artist, pioneer in grass painting, has been working with Lavazza for years on artistic projects to promote sustainability, such as Beyond Walls.

Personal claim 

Our lives and our actions are destined to become traces of our passage in this world, it is ours to know what to do with.

About me:

I like the idea of having an impact on people and society, but without having an impact on nature. This is why I invented a biodegradable process for painting on grass, a technique that allows me to paint enormous, environmentally sustainable frescoes directly on the ground. I am deeply convinced that art can be put at the service of the world and society. In 2019, I launched Beyond Walls, a project depicting interlocked hands joined in a common effort to reach beyond the walls that separate human beings, enclosing them within mental or geographical compartments. In this work, the symbolic crossing of walls does not erase the individual nature of each of these hands: they all bear the subtle signs of belonging to multiple social, geographical or ethnic groups. Today, the universality that is unleashed from ‘Beyond the Walls’ is that of a humanity in pursuit of plurality: this project will cross borders to breathe life into a lateral universality that will flow from city to city through this massive human chain, because it is only together that humankind will be able to meet the different challenges that it will have to face.”