Art Auction for Syria raises €32,000

Abdul Aziz reports on the recent art auction held by a number of young contemporary Irish artists to raise money for people caught up in the conflict in Syria

An auction selling pieces of art by well known Irish painters has raised over €32,000 to help men, women and children suffering in Syria.

The Syrian Vibes Art Auction 2018, which took place on March 25 in the Bagots Hutton bar and restaurant on Dublin’s Ormond Quay featured contemporary artworks by the likes of Jim Fitzpatrick, Richard Mosse, DUDA and Maser amongst many others.

All of the artworks were donated by the artists themselves, most of whom were young contemporary painters or photographers. The exhibition began on March 8. Ending with the auction on March 25 drawing a packed out crowd of over 100 people.

“The aim of the exhibition” says organiser Dublin DJ Calvin James, “was to raise as much money as possible for those in need in Syria.”

James founded the NGO The SCOOP Foundation in 2009, along with his brother Andy James. This is the foundation’s eighth annual auction but the first in aid of Syria.

“As a group we are really strapped for funds and urgently need money to help people”

“When we first started we were primarily working in India and Cambodia assisting small local organisations and building schools through fundraising there,” he explains. “In 2013 however we turned our attention to Syria.”

Calvin volunteered with an ambulance crew in Syria for seven months in 2013. Afterwards his organisation moved into the Kurdish region of Iraq and began working with displaced people there.

The SCOOP Foundation is now providing aid in Northern Syria. “As a group we’re really strapped for funds and urgently need money to help people,” explains Calvin.

“We are really pleased with the amount of money raised,” he adds. “There’s been a great response from young Irish artists here. We’ve also had a few donations from English and Italian painters. They’ve all been very generous and it’s gratifying to see.”

“A lot of the artists here are young so the exhibition is a little bit different to most of the usual fine art auctions you see being run around the country,” says Frank O’Dea who runs the Ball Ban Art Gallery in the Westbury Mall, Dublin.

“The crowd here have been very supportive,” he adds. “There’s a great atmosphere and it’s great to see so many young people buying and supporting art”.

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