Christmas. You know it’s that time of year when the begging letters with pitiful photos of suffering donkeys/dogs/homeless people etc., flop through your letterbox designed to tear at your heart-strings, and dig a deep hole in your pocket. They are difficult to ignore. I’ve seen the graphic images on Facebook too. Images of unbelievable cruelty metered out on these poor innocent creatures. They stay with me for days and leave me weeping with anger and sadness.
But it’s the cruelty we inflict on our fellow humans that is the most shocking of all and shatter the lives of families around the world. Not to mention the natural disasters like the recent Typhoon Hayain that shatter the lives of millions of people. At the very least, witnessing the survivors of these natural or man-made catastrophes serve to put any adversities we may be experiencing into perspective. Anything that we can do, however small, to try to heal those affected and suffering is surely worth pursuing.
Two exhibitions opened this week in Cornwall with the aim of raising funds for charities that help others in desperate situations: Freedom From Torture and ShelterBox. It was a coincidence that they happened to open on the same evening. Both causes are close to my heart and I am proud to say I have had a small part to play in both events.
‘Drawing the Line’, kindly hosted by the Millennium Gallery, St. Ives, is a sealed bid charity exhibition in aid of Freedom From Torture, the medical branch of Amnesty. The charity aims to help rehabilitate men and women from anywhere in the world who have survived torture. The exhibition has been organised and curated by artist, Kate Walters, and as a member of the West Cornwall branch of the charity, I offered to help ‘hang’ the show.
Over 150 artists, not only from Cornwall but also from across the globe responded to the call-out and generously donated works with some well-known names amongst the line-up. Kiki Smith, Tim Shaw RA, Sarah Gillespie, Lisa Wright and Pippa Young to name just a few. With such a diverse range of work from different artists and over 200 works, putting this exhibition together has been a considerable task and not without its challenges.
However, there are some truly stunning pieces on show alongside contributions of work by a few of the people who have been helped by FFT. The exhibition runs until 7th December so there is still time to make a bid and own a drawing by your favourite artist! (I have donated 4 ‘drawings’).
Over £8,000 has been raised so far from successful bids. Take a look at more drawings here.
The exhibition is taking place in the Lime Tree Café at Tremenheere, with part of the proceeds going to ShelterBox, a charity set up in Cornwall delivering emergency relief to people around the world. (Typhoon Hayain in the Philippines is still so recent in our memories). The show which this year has a ‘botanical’ theme, runs until Sunday, 15th December. You can see the works here (I have contributed 3 small drawings which I did from a recent visit to the Gardens in November, see one below). The café is worth a visit in itself. A slice of their home-made coffee and walnut cake is highly recommended!