x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Arty appeal that draws on your generosity

Night of 1000 Drawings, a project launched in 2006 by a group of South African artists to help homeless people, will take place for the first time in the Emirates in November.

A fund-raising art event that started on the streets of Johannesburg is coming to Dubai. Night of 1000 Drawings, a project launched in 2006 by a group of South African artists to help homeless people, will take place for the first time in the Emirates in November. Over the next few months about 1,000 drawings and photographs will be collected from drop boxes in galleries, fashion stores and coffee shops. They will then be sold to raise money for Start, a Dubai-based charity that helps underprivileged children through art therapy.

Renata Giovannoni, 28, a graphic designer who is part of Legion DXB, the team of artists and volunteers organising Night of 1000 Drawings in the UAE, said: "It's an innovative way to raise money for a good cause. People don't necessarily have to donate money, they can just give their time and their drawings." Legion DXB has compiled a network of local artists who will contribute and there will also be small gatherings in local parks or on the beach where people interested in helping the cause can get together and produce drawings.

"Anyone can take part," said Ms Giovannoni. "An established artist, a photographer or just someone who likes to doodle for fun." In previous events, she said, there had been submissions on wood, fabric and all types of paper. "You can get as creative as you like and it doesn't matter who you are, your drawing will sell for the same price. In South Africa it was 100 rand and in the UAE it will be Dh50."

The idea for Night of 1000 Drawings started when a homeless shelter in Johannesburg had the bus it used for soup kitchens stolen. A local artist, David Chong, stepped in with the idea of an impromptu art sale. It proved so popular that he decided to make it an annual event. In 2007, 1,600 drawings were contributed and a total of 65,000 rand (Dh30,700) was raised for Paballo Ya Batho, the homeless shelter.

The next year the event expanded to Cape Town. "I contributed to the last two sales," said Ms Giovannoni. "We thought it would be a good idea to have one in Dubai as there are many artists here. Also Start is the perfect charity because it is about promoting art as well as helping children." The submission process began this week and the art-sale event will be on November 18. aseaman@thenational.ae