“In the years 2016-2018, I initiated a project called RESTART that aimed at facilitating the new beginning of newcomer artists in Germany. With a group of highly committed volunteers, we organized exhibitions where we put the people’s talents into focus rather than their status of ‘being a refugee’….“

Jonas Nipkow

Initiator 'habibiberlin'
@jonas.nipkow

“In doing so, we created opportunities for locals and newcomers to meet. In that time, I learned a lot about the arts and curating. But it was the direct exchange with the artists, their culture and their language that taught me the most.

In summer 2018 I designed myself the very first habibibag. It was the result of a collaboration with Syrian artist Dani Hasrouni, who drafted the font, and it represented the warmth and friendliness that I encountered throughout my time with RESTART. Once I made the first bag, suddenly there were more and more people who wanted one for themselves. Muslims and Christians, Germans and Arabs, old and new Berliners, people young and old: everyone with their own story, their own background and their own connection to the bag and to the word ‘habibi’.

Despite the fact that we are all different, we are united by common values like openness, tolerance and mutual respect. The diversity of our society and our city as a whole make habibiberlin what it is today: a platform for minorities and sub-cultures, that tries to reduce prejudices and create connections between people of all kinds.“