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“Our future on this continent is not decided by us but for us. Something needs to change and the only ones who can do it are us.” If you haven’t heard yet, EU citizens are voting this weekend after five long years. But we don’t seem very interested in these elections. At least, in the last turnout, only 28% of the youth voted. In a time when our freedoms and rights are more threatened than ever by a (super) old and outdated status quo, when the future seems darker than brighter, and when the planet is teetering on the brink of extinction, it’s time for us to reclaim our power. And if you’re not ready to vote or fight, listen to what the founders of the project EUnited have to say.

The project began after London-based photographer Clara Nebeling stumbled across the last election’s voting statistics, which showed that an alarming 72% of the youngest population with the right to vote (aged between 18 and 24) preferred to stay at home. An exasperating fact, really. But that’s not all. As she herself explains on the website that she’s launched to encourage the youth vote, “the next age group didn’t look more promising. The only one that did was the 55+ one.” So how do we revert this?

Nebeling has teamed up with several other creatives from all over the continent. “We are independent and without political agendas”, they say. Their only goal is for you to vote. But who else is part of this project? Mainly, four artists: Clara Nebeling, Maria Sturm in collaboration with Ana Tiessen and Katinka Schuett, Wendy Huynh, and David Uzochukwu. But there are more people involved: Eloise Harris, Artur Turkuli, Tori West, Jana Lohde, Emma Lydssan, Katharina Kemmler and the agency Kemmler Kemmler.

The four main artists behind the platform EUnited have created a series of stories related to their vision of Europe: of love, of culture, of dreams, and of modernity. Clara Nebeling, in charge of the love story, says: “As a child of a mixed European family (German/Portuguese), I went out to portray the increasing number of intereuropean relationships, which have become more and more since programs like Erasmus started and open borders allowed people to move freely on the continent. It’s my way of showing a growing pan-European identity”.
But there are many other references behind the project: mythology, art history, or their personal experiences. Austrian-Nigerian photographer David Uzochukwu found inspiration in the Greek tale of Zeus taking the form of a bull and carrying a Phoenician princess through the sea onto the shores of Crete. “She becomes the continent’s namesake – Europa. I wanted to put modern European youth in that position of power, particularly young adults whose place in society is regularly questioned. This is their future”, the artist explains.
On the other hand, Maria Sturm and her collaborators have set up a contemporary still life hugely inspired by Dutch painting. And Wendy Huyn, a Paris-based photographer, has portrayed some of her neighbours, people from her close community, to convey a message of strength and unity. As she herself puts it, “this is about them. The younger generations need to work together”. A first exam in community building will take place this Sunday – in some countries, the voting period starts even earlier, on Thursday of Friday, for example – and we all need to pass. 

 If you’re in and want to motivate your peers, in addition to sharing the project, you can take some guerrilla-style action by printing posters and posting them as bills all over the streets. And no, don’t worry, you don’t need to even open Photoshop. Just visit and choose a photo, a language, and the colour of both the background and the type, and you’ll have it. Clear, straight-forward, arty and easy-peasy. What else could you ask for? If after all this you’re still not taking action, then you’re just another one to blame.

Words by
Arnau Salvadó

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