Nari Ward | Home Smiles, 2014-24


Tin cans, labels, mirror, cart, smiles
ø 7.3 x 4.4 cm (tin can)
Realized for the exhibition at Pirelli HangarBicocca

All the proceedings are donated to Save the Children to support the project Punti Luci in Milan (in the neighborhoods of Giambellino and Quarto Oggiaro)

Created in conjunction with Pirelli HangarBicocca’s education department, Home Smiles is part of the larger Smile Projects commenced by Ward in 2014. The work is inspired by the street vendors’ stands found in Harlem and Jamaica: the artist collects and sells smiles offered by passersby in mirrored sealed tin cans. The formal action recalls the iconic work Merda d’artista (Artist’s Shit, 1961) by Piero Manzoni (1933–63), in which the artist questions the concept of authorship in art. However, while Manzoni questioned artistic value with the provocative contents of his box, Ward explores the concepts of individual identity and belonging, which are difficult to trace back to a geographical place of origin because they can only be found in our inner selves. The gesture of canning a smile becomes a way of confirming the belief in our power of imagining. On this occasion, proceed from the sale of Home Smiles are donated to Save the Children, an independent international organization that is committed since 1919 to saving children at risk and ensuring them a future. In particular, the funds raised will help support Punti Luce in Milan (Giambellino and Quarto Oggiaro), day care centers that offer free educational and training opportunities to children and young people between the ages of 6 and 17.

*The work is activated to collect smiles every Saturday and Sunday from 2 pm to 6.30 pm. The cans of Home Smiles are on sale at the bookshop on opening days. The tin cans are excluded from any promotion as the proceedings are entirely donated to charity.

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