Bono Commissions 17 Street Artist Murals to Raise AIDS Awareness

Bono of U2
Olivier Hoslet/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Bono of U2, co-founder of the One campaign visit in Brussels, Belgium on Oct. 10, 2018.

Bono has tapped legendary street artist Shepard Fairey to help him with a new initiative to raise awareness in the fight against AIDS.   

The U2 singer, one of the founders of the global AIDS charity RED, has tapped 17 artists to paint murals in New York, Washington, Lyon, London, Berlin and Paris in advance of next month's Global Fund Replenishment Conference in Lyon (Oct. 10).   

"Street artists have been raising the alarm in the fight against AIDS since HIV appeared — from the streets of New York in the 1980s, and now in the next weeks in cities around the world with Paint (RED) Save Lives," said Bono in a statement. "There has been a lot of progress, more than many experts predicted, but not enough yet to put the sirens to rest. Young women continue to bear the brunt of this disease and maddeningly, every week 6,000 of them are needlessly infected. I'd call that an emergency. (RED) is the color of emergency."   

Cory Ring @chopemdown
(SAVES LIVES) by Trevor & Cosmo

Among the artists creating (RED)-inspired art for the project are: Add Fuel, Bisco Smith, BRUSK, DALeast, Faile, Faith XLVII, Hera, HOW & NOSM, Inside Out Project, Karabo Poppy Moletsane, Ludo, Olek, Ron English, Stephen Powers, Trevor & Cosmo, and WK Interact; there will also be a PAINT (RED) street art auction on Artsy to raise additional money for the Global Fund.

"I'm always inspired by organizations that aim to minimize suffering and cater to those who need help the most, rather than the affluent or powerful," said Fairey -- best known for his "HOPE" posters for Pres. Barack Obama's 2008 campaign -- in a statement. "I don't believe compassion should have borders. I also admire the model of encouraging businesses to give back and do good things for the world. That philosophy is reflected in my own art and business practice. In my artworks for (RED), I used symbols that I hope apply universally and appeal to the best side of people's nature. I never want anyone to die prematurely or fail to receive the treatments that can help them. AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis are all huge problems, so I'm happy to be a small part of what needs to be a huge effort to treat them."

Courtesy of (RED)
Shepard Fairey, 'We Shape the Future Rose Shackle'

The artworks are intended to engage and encourage political leaders to fully fund the fight against AIDS, with key sites in New York, D.C., Berlin and Paris getting transformed during this month and early October ahead of the Global Fund meeting that will determine funding for the next three years to help save 16 million lives while cutting the mortality rate from HIV, TB and malaria in half.

Some of the artists have also created custom augmented reality Snapchat Lenses, which users can share on Instagran, Facebook and Twitter.