Organised to coincide with Earth Day 2016 on 22nd April, the United Nations of Sugar Art (UNSA) brought this collaboration of over 200 cake artists together. With the aim of inspiring change, this collection of sugar pieces is a social media event and a fundraiser to benefit the National Geographic Society. We spoke to Zawadi Parizek, founder of UNSA and leader of this collaboration, to find out more. In amongst her interview is some of our favourite pieces from this thought provoking collaboration.
Tell us about your collaboration
As an international organisation, UNSA has put together its 2nd annual collaboration and fundraiser to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd. Acts of Green was an exciting event that took place on social media for the entire month of April. With over 100 pieces, I wanted this year’s collaboration to focus not only on our planet’s beauty, but on the issues facing its well being. A few of our members have even been working with their children’s schools to have their piece included in Earth Day celebrations.
What inspired you to do this theme?
I work at a hospital that is on the front line of medical recycling. The work that they are doing to decrease our everyday footprint is inspiring and I wanted to find a way to extend this into the UNSA Foundation. As I watched the immense amount of education and change of thought involved in just one small hospital, I started looking into global organisations that promote innovation and education.
National Geographic Society was always a magazine that my grandparents had lying around the house, but during my research, I quickly came to realise that as a non-profit charity, they do so much more: “National Geographic Society has made tangible strides to reverse the damage to our Oceans with the Pristine Seas Program, worked toward the survival of our Big Cats through its Big Cats Initiative and Conservation Trust, as well as educating future generations with the Young Explorers Program. Awarding hundreds of Expedition grants will help ensure we know our past, present and future.”
How did you decide on this group of people?
Participants for each of the collaborations are pulled from members of UNSA. We have almost 500 international cake and sugar artists that are members of United Nations of Sugar Art and they are given first choice in joining any UNSA collaborations. We are a global group, so our goal is to have a diverse and dynamic group of participants.
Did anything go wrong?
The most frustrating thing is having ideas and goals and not being able to get the reach that you want. There are so many wonderful pieces and generous vendors that donated products for the fundraiser that I’m sure the cake community would love to know about, but we have no control over what social media grabs onto and runs with.
If you were to do it again, what would you do differently?
I am a habitual procrastinator. I would remind myself of how much work goes into producing a beautiful collaboration event and that “it can’t wait until tomorrow”!
If you were to do another collaboration, how should others get involved?
We will be doing a collaboration once a year to benefit different charities. In October 2017, we are excited to be partnering with Depressed Cake Shop to bring much needed awareness to Mental Health. To get involved, please request to join our Facebook group: UNSA Foundation-Main at www.facebook.com/groups/1712268975674719/