Balloons bring 10,000 smiles to Kabul

Dec 01, 2013

Balloons perk up all the big moments in life: birthdays, graduations, weddings. As artist Yazmany Arboleda notes, balloons are an exclamation point to life’s biggest celebrations.

But Arboleda, 32, has been using balloons to punctuate a different facet of life. In cities around the world, Arboleda enlists volunteers to pass out 10,000 colorful balloons to busy people starting their workweek.

Taken at face value, the balloon merely makes workers smile. But after a brief conversation and a glimpse at all the other adults holding balloons, it can trigger contemplation about work, community or even “how I see myself as part of something bigger,” Arboleda says.

The balloon project, dubbed Monday Morning, encapsulates Arboleda’s artistic style. He uses contemporary media, public places and audience engagement to explore human truths.

Earlier this year, he took his balloons and created his art on an unlikely canvas: the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. Find out how those simple latex balloons brought smiles and a moment of shared humanity to a war-weary country in the December 2013 issue of Kiwanis magazine.