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Painting a powerful picture of Congo

For 50 years, UNICEF Kinshasa has been dealing with the insecurity of livelihoods, health problems, malnutrition and the trauma of violence in the volatile situation at Congo. UNICEF has made continued efforts for funding and resources to be made available. The survival of children and their stabilization are fundamental goals and the UNICEF offices work rigorously against many impediments towards the protection of children’s rights to give them hope and dignity.

For the UNICEF DRC offices, Lopez Design’s task was to infuse life and bring connectivity and purpose to the workspaces. As designers, our greatest challenge was in uniting the 10 separate sections of the office with a singular sense of purpose. We zeroed in on the art of Kinshasa to bring people to act together.

Our ideas for the graphics evolved with the artists and painters of Kinshasa. We commissioned them to do a series of paintings based on their observations and experiences of the children in the region. Heartrending images in bursts of colours and styles line the walls of UNICEF DRC offices today with matching photographs of children.  The texts relating to mission and vision of UNICEF is written in French. The art of the region reaches out with a raw energy to make a direct impact, driving home the vulnerabilities of children in Congo. Simple and localized images as a two-wheeler vehicle with an entire family or children gathered around a plate of food leave permanent impressions for every user of that space. Every painting tells a powerful story, altering our perceptions forever.

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In constant flux dealing with emergencies, the UNICEF office is always besieged by challenges making it difficult to bring decision makers to the table for key talks. This turned out to be our longest ever project. The other real time problems we encountered were the lack of skill-sets and quality technology to execute the graphic communications. We ended up fabricating all the graphic products in India transporting them to Kinshasa. 

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