The world's largest electronic device graveyard
In June 2017, MAGO, who became a street painter after his company went bankrupt in 2009, visited Agbogbloshie, a slum in Ghana known as the world's electronic graveyard. There, MAGO meets people who live on a daily wage of just 500 yen a day, desperately burning electronic devices thrown away by developed countries.
What he witnessed were people who are said to have died in their 30s after inhaling large amounts of gas and contracting cancer.
"Is it so important that we accumulate wealth at their expense? I want to convey this truth to developed countries through the power of art."
True love found in the slums of Ghana
After returning to Japan, he created works using unnecessary waste even in the slums, and with the earnings from the sales, he made his second visit in November 2017 and delivered 250 gas masks for the first time to prolong their lives from cancer. Thereafter, MAGO vowed to them that he would "make this slum even better with art."
This oath brought him miracles. On March 20, 2018, MAGO's artworks were sold for 15 million yen each at the solo exhibition "Art is for saving people: A visit to the slums of Ghana" held in Ginza. “Everything is for them”. This true love has endowed MAGO with a unique and never-ending creativity.
Since then, MAGO has continued to transform the waste collected in this slum into his own works, and to return the earnings to the local people.
Agbogbloshie's e-waste is being collected and plastic chips, the raw material for MAGO blocks, are being produced at a recycling factory.
We are growing 500 coffee seedlings, 550 moringa seedlings, 500 plantain seedlings, and 10 olive seedlings on a 3-acre farm near Accra.
Research, development, and design of EV bikes, kickboards, etc. are carried out locally, and advanced technology is invested in the slums. In 2023, as the first step, we will start selling a new electric scooter "EQCO" designed by Ghanaian designer Godwin.
An art gallery has been opened next to the recycling factory. We cultivate and produce artists from slums, and exhibit and sell them at MAGO GALLERY, museums, and department stores around the world.
Due to excessive donations from developed countries, large amounts of clothing wastes are being dumped on beaches near Accra. A project is underway to clean up the beach and return the clothing waste to the soil.
In 2018, MAGO established MAGO ART AND STUDY, the first school in a slum. At the school, which MAGO has guaranteed to be free for the next 50 years (until he dies), lessons in English, math, social studies, and art are held for preschool children on weekday evenings.
“Sustainable Capitalism” is a formula that makes both people
and the earth happy.
MAGO operates under the banner of "sustainable capitalism," a form in which the three gears of "culture," "economy," and "social contribution" continue to rotate. The more you own MAGO's Ghanaian works, the less local trash is created, the more you will be able to contribute to the economy, and the more cultural you become. And at the same time, the message of this problem will spread all over the world. Furthermore, if MAGO's reputation as an artist increases through these activities, it is not impossible that the value of the artwork you purchase will increase by 100 times the original price. Paintings that MAGO once sold for $300 on the streets of New York are now fetching $30,000 among collectors.
Owning works of art in Ghana =
Cultural aspect "Owning works of art"
Economic aspect "Investing to increase the value of works"
Social contribution aspect "Developing slums"
This is the spirit of sustainable capitalism. MAGO is actively incorporating economic activities which were previously considered taboo for artists. Happiness will come to those people who buy the art, the local people, and ultimately, the earth. This is true sustainability, where culture, economy, and environment all move.
From slums to sustainable towns
and world peace
As the final chapter of sustainable capitalism, MAGO aims to employ 10,000 people by 2030 and create a cutting-edge sustainable town locally. He will provide healthy jobs to slum dwellers and transform the world’s worst electronic graveyard into a sustainable town with zero pollution. When the waste is finally gone and MAGO can no longer create works, MAGO’s "art for problem solving" will be completed.
Giving them a sustainable town will be MAGO’s final work. MAGO’s ultimate goal as an artist is to bring peace to the world through art. He’s seriously trying to make that happen. Solving the problems of Ghana's slums will definitely become a bridge to future world peace.
Believing this, MAGO picks up a paintbrush today and paints a prayer for peace for Ghana. Please replace some of your assets with MAGO art. The accumulation of your love will lead to the sustainable town of the future.
"If the world is not beautiful, people cannot live their lives in a beautiful way," he said. "For this reason, art guides us to peace with its beautiful techniques."
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