FOUNDING STORY

WHAT DOES RED BALLOON MEAN?

Red Balloon stands for the power of arts to create positive social impact and initiate change in individuals and community.

 

Red signifies aspirations, passion and courage to solve some of the social challenges faced by the world today. 

 

Balloon symbolizes freedom, imagination, hope and a gravity defying spirit to take a collective leap towards a better future.

<< This film shares the idea on which Red Balloon was founded. It has since developed into an organisation that empowers young people across genders and socio-economic-cultural backgrounds and now includes a wider focus on multiple social issue and harnessing leadership within children. 

For Samar Singh Jodha, art has always been more than just a creative exhibition. Art he feels, “is an ammunition to demand world’s attention to the marginalized – the silent masses, and to enable people to lead change.

It was early on in his professional career that he realized just how much art and creative expression can influence, persuade and move people to lead change. Throughout his founding years, education and his professional life, Samar has traversed continents and been exposed to diverse cultures. He has experienced life and issues of different communities, which are hidden from the majority and which people in the urban comforts, tend to be completely oblivious towards.

 

For over two decades now, Samar has used art to highlight this jarring contrast and bring to the world the voices and issues of the marginalized. Many of his projects revolve around communities where issues such as adoption of western models, environmental pressures, land and water and human rights are prominent.

From using art to help create sustainable livelihood for a vanishing Buddhist Burmese village, to photography workshops with children in conflict and engagement programs with Afghan refugees, to creating impactful experiential installations questioning corporate responsibility – Samar has created a creative community which breaks the limitations of art within what he calls a “White cube gallery syndrome” and taken it to the community it’s trying to address.

Samar’s work is especially focused on empowerment of the marginalised girl child and highlighting the issues of education, healthcare, safety and even identity that she faces. He is also keenly invested in the youth, a group that Samar believes has the power to lead and enable social impact.

 

Samar has been commissioned by the UN, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BBC World Service Trust and Amnesty International.His work and vision have motivated thousands through his TEDx talks in Europe and India. He has extensively worked in South Asia, Central Asia and Africa.

Red Balloon has emanated from this long held vision of using art to positively impact society. With this, he has given his vision a platform, creating a collaborative ecosystem which is critical to large-scale mobilization and impact. With art and design at its core, Red Balloon builds partnerships, raises awareness on critical issues and enables individual leadership to lead change.

INDEPENDENT PROJECTS

Through Independent Art Projects, Red Balloon works towards developing arts-based solutions aimed at activating public engagement, awareness and action, which enables institutions and corporates to address specific issues and create social impact. The following projects are independent undertakings of Samar.

Bhopal – A Silent Picture

A Public Art Project

Bhopal– A Silent Picture is an experiential art installation highlighting the effects and aftermath of the Bhopal gas tragedy. This 40’ mobile multimedia installation simulates an environment with sound, light and temperature to recreate the sensory experience of the night of the disaster. This is an attempt to question corporate responsibility towards society and is one of the largest ever viewed public art projects in India and has clocked in over 250 thousand visitors internationally, so far.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AofFiWS998c

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Express & Aspire

Arts Workshops for Children

Express & Aspire are pro-bono photography workshops with underprivileged children in Asia and Africa. One of the longest-running projects undertaken by Samar, it has impacted 2000+ children in over 20 years. Each workshop goes beyond honing the creativity of the individuals to help raise self-esteem, impart life lessons and offer possibilities that are hard for them to otherwise imagine in the difficult circumstances they endure.

https://youtu.be/SDZ_ULDkLvM

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Ageless Mind and Spirit

A Publishing Project

This is a path-breaking photography and publishing project by brothers, Samar and Vijay Jodha. With an essay by HH The Dalai Lama, this book is an eight-year effort covering 400 elderly people all over India to create a series of engaging human interest stories in the voices of the elderly themselves.  

https://www.ted.com/talks/samar_jodha_listen_to_wisdom_from_the_elders_in_your_life

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Phaneng:

A Journey Into Personal Engagement

Sustainability and Capacity-Building Through Art

Phaneng is an award-winning portraiture project about the disappearing Burmese Buddhist tribe, Tai Phake. Samar’s extensive personal engagement with the community led him into an education project, rebuilding a monastery, and a unique eco-tourism project that has built local capacity as well as raised incomes.

TED Vienna:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcqOqeX3Xs8

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We envision a world where the young are empowered to express and lead the way towards a better future.

©2020 Red Balloon

Website curated & designed by Lavanya Agarwal