Afreaks is a natural extension of Simon and Niki Haas' commitment to open a dialogue about social concerns through art and design. This collaboration illuminates issues of creativity and authorship as they relate to privilege. The Haas Brothers' continued dialogue with The Haas Sisters will be further developed by sustainable philanthropic efforts coordinated through R & Company and a partner 501(c)(3). Through research and personal experience, they understand that the recipients of this support are best suited to make creative and financial decisions for themselves and have set up the following initiatives:
The experiences that Niki and Simon Haas had in their travels to South Africa were profoundly moving for them. They were exposed to the reality that limited access to basic needs makes it harder for artists to express themselves freely, unafraid of the financial ramifications of their self-expression. By giving back financially and responding to their needs, the gallery and The Haas Brothers hope to create a conduit for their collaborators that will promote their creative freedom and the realization of goals.
Of the project, Simon Haas says, "South Africa showed us that beauty comes in many forms, and the beauty we witnessed from The Haas Sisters of Khayelitsha has impacted our view of the world more deeply than anything else we've experienced. We embarked on this project understanding it as a journey rather than a means to produce a product, so these objects serve as records of the most beautiful meeting of minds we could have asked for than as objects with any concrete function. We present the beauty that is the spirit of joy that humans, no matter their circumstance, are capable of producing. We are designing a new vernacular for this classic craft with the understanding that a person's creativity is their most valuable resource."