After the horrific events in Paris on Friday night, artists have responded in the best way they know how: channeling creative talent into expressions of peace, love, and unity.
It’s an unfortunate truth that the requirement for such a reaction is a familiar one for Parisians, with January’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish community fresh in the memory. The pain was felt all the more by the creative community once again, due to the fact that most of the lives lost were among attendees of the rock concert at a mid-size venue, the Bataclan, where US band Eagles of Death Metal were playing a show.
That doesn’t take away from the somber dignity of the many artistic responses, though, which spread remarkably quickly thanks to social media and the 24/7 news cycle we now live with.
Artists Respond to Paris Attacks
It was graphic designer Jean Jullien, a Parisian based in London, whose simple sketch became the most widely adopted symbol of solidarity in the wake of the attacks. Pictured above, the minimalist image calls for peace through the traditional symbol and places the most iconic Paris landmark at its heart, reflecting
The “Peace for Paris” image was quickly adopted for social media profile pictures and posted around the world, as onlookers struggled to find some way to express their support for the innocent lives lost in the attacks
Musical reflection followed too, as an unknown pianist cycled with his instrument to Bataclan and, poignantly, played John Lennon’s Imagine to the gathered mourners.
So often an ode to what could be if people could only set aside cultural and faith-based differences, it was as fitting a tribute as anyone could ask for in the circumstances.
Technology came into play for Paris as well, not least in the immediate response from Facebook to roll out its new “I’m safe” feature. A simple interface allows users in noted danger zones to signal their safety to friends and family, providing some level of connection when chaos strikes.
The California-based company also rolled out one of its signature profile picture switches, offering users the option to stand with Paris by turning their most public image into one filtered by the French flag. A simple provision, yet one adopted by millions of users within hours of rolling out, if the Facebook feeds we see today are anything to go by.
The fundraising efforts were almost as rapid, with one tech entrepreneur from Boston summing up the mutual support, tweeting this image of the French response to 9/11 and embarking upon a fundraising campaign of his own.
Nothing can take away the damage done by these atrocities, nor the pain we feel when we hear they’ve occurred. But artists can undoubtedly give a voice to the inevitable grief that arises, as well as reflecting the hope that understanding will eventually emerge from such unfathomable, hateful acts.