We Believe in Balloons                                                                                    

International collaborative arts project launched to share 10,000 pink balloons with the citizens of Kabul, Afghanistan.                                                                    

This most modern art discipline—Social Sculpture / Social Architecture—will only reach fruition when every living person becomes a creator, a sculptor, or architect of the social organism. Joseph Beuys, 1973

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: February 18, 2013 – Yazmany Arboleda along with over one hundred Afghan artists and volunteers today launched A project to unite more than 10,000 people from around the world with the aim of bringing art, not war, to the streets of Kabul this spring.  The idea is that 10,000+ people will hand out one pink balloon to the citizens of Kabul as they head to work on Saturday morning. 

The online launching project has been created in 14 languages, ranging from Dari to Japanese, Swahili to Pashto, and French to Urdu, thanks to the support of hundreds of volunteers, who recorded their voices around the world from Brazil to China to England.  Yazmany Arboleda, founder of the Glassless Glasses Studio, an art activation collaborative based in New York City, explains: “Via the campaign website, each supporter will only be able to have a direct link to one balloon – and thereby a direct connection from one person to another.  To be able to give one balloon, each individual is asked to be part of it and upload a picture of their smile to the website, which is then added to a digital mural that will showcase the faces of all of the people, who will make the project possible.  The mural will be accessible online and will also be printed on a large banner that will be exhibited in Kabul.”   

Part of this collective is the actual project that will take place in Kabul this spring and that can best be described as an installation consisting of more than 10,000 bright pink balloons being given to commuters on their way to work on a Saturday morning. The sole request to the people who receive the balloons is that they hold on to them until they reach their place of work.

Arboleda: “Figuratively, the balloons represent celebration.  They make us think of the happy moments that punctuate our lives. By contrast, the often monotonous action of commuting to work makes this juxtaposition all the more tangible. This art piece hopefully opens up conversations about how community is created in public spaces around the world—from the internet to the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan.”

This natural, non-choreographed parade of neon pink balloons in the heart of Kabul city will transform what spectators and city-dwellers would otherwise think as an ordinary daily morning commute into a sequence of unexpected celebrations.


It is thanks to the following organizations and their continuous participation that this project has been made possible: Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan; Faculty of Fine Art, Kabul University; Afghan Women’s Network; Young Women for Change; AEISEC; AIS, Afghan International Services; Sale Foundation; Kabul Street; Berang; Roya Film House; and Parwaz Puppet Theater, among many others.

With this particular installation, Arboleda continues to explore the boundaries of contemporary art using living materials.  This installation challenges how we think about art: who creates it, who owns it and who is it for?

Over the past two years, ten thousand neon orange balloons were handed out in Bangalore, India, 10,000 neon green balloons to citizens in Yamaguchi, Japan and 10,000 yellow ones were gifted in Nairobi, Kenya.   Kabul is the fourth city in this sequence of installations.


The Glassless Glasses Studio

Tel: +93 (0) 733 762 556



Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Yazmany Arboleda grew up between Medellin, Colombia and Miami, Florida. He studied in Washington D.C., London and Milan, and his academic achievements were supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. His art has been exhibited in New York and London and has been written about in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the UK’s The Guardian. Arboleda’s practice merges painting, photography, film, sculpture, installation and participatory actions in order to highlight phenomena that lie just outside our collective field of vision. His preoccupations with social, political and moral issues in an increasingly media-driven culture draw our attention to often overlooked, but extraordinary facets of today’s world. He writes occasionally for the Huffington Post about art and culture.


The Glassless Glasses Studio, founded in 2008 by Yazmany Arboleda, is an art activation collaborative based in New York. At the studio we deconstruct the contemporary human experience by using the very same media prism that shapes our perspectives from childhood to adult life. Our work considers how nature and culture combine to define standards of human beauty across time and geography. We explore the ways the growing ubiquity of information has been accompanied by a crumbling of faith in news institutions, businesses and governments. The work depicts and analyzes inter-connections and influences, and often engages the viewer, knowingly or not, to become a part of the art itself. For more information, please visit