It’s not often in retail we can say that we’ve done something that is helping less developed parts of the world. That’s why it’s so exciting for us in the Shop at AGH to have brought in Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun, a solar powered light shaped like a pretty yellow flower. These Little Suns are part of a global project and social business that is connecting the world by sharing light.
To give a little context, Olafur Eliasson is one of the six artists featured in the AGH’s current exhibition, are you experienced?, and to say he’s prolific would be an understatement. With Danish-Icelandic roots, Olafur currently lives in Berlin and uses natural elements like light, water, and fog to create immersive environments in museums and galleries around the world. He’s the guy that famously installed a giant artificial sun inside the Tate Modern (The Weather Project, 2003).
More than just a prolific artist, Olafur Eliasson is also an artist with a strong social conscience, saying in a 2009 TED talk that “it is not just about decorating the world… but about taking responsibility.” Enter Little Sun solar lights.
There are 1.6 billion people in the world living without electricity. Let me say that again – 1.6 BILLION. That’s why Olafur, together with engineer Frederik Ottesen, developed the Little Sun solar-powered light – to get clean, reliable, and affordable light to as many people as possible.
“Currently, people living off the grid often use kerosene lanterns, which are toxic and carry the risk of burns and house fires. Little Sun solar lights are a clean and safe alternative.” — Olafur Eliasson
Currently, people living off the grid often use kerosene lanterns, which are toxic and carry the risk of burns and house fires. Little Sun solar lights are a clean and safe alternative. Over a two-year period, Little Sun saves off-grid users 90% of what they would spend on kerosene lighting.
The idea is that people in developed countries pay a little bit more for each Little Sun so that people with less are enabled to pay what they can afford. They still only retail for $39 here in Canada, which is pretty great considering their many possible uses, including lighting for outdoor dinner parties, camping, etc. They can even be used as a headlight for your bike.
Watch Olafur himself talk about the project:
Olafur Eliasson on Little Sun, 2012. Video: Tomas Gislason
The Little Sun in action
To demonstrate the impact, here are some testimonials of how Little Sun has changed people’s lives in off-grid communities.
All of us at the Shop at AGH are really excited to be involved with this global initiative, and take great joy in knowing that we’re making a small, but important difference to help people safely see through the night. We hope that when you’re viewing the truly spectacular exhibition, are you experienced?, you’ll pop by the shop and check out Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun.