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Dubai art exhibition mirrors face of hunger

Show titled Aware seeks to support UN World Food Programme initiatives in Iran

Gulf News

Dubai: An art exhibition that seeks to project hunger as a pressing world issue is being held at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The event is also actively contributing to the cause by raising funds for the World Food Programme in Iran.

The ‘Aware’ exhibition has been launched by the Farjam Collection at DIFC, in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and with support from the Contemporary Practices Art Journal.

The exhibition showcases 32 artworks by 32 contemporary Middle Eastern artists, said Austin Hamilton, collection and exhibitions coordinator at Farjam Collection. She added that the majority of the artists are Iranian, but there are contributors from other Middle Eastern countries including Egypt and the UAE. The artworks on display include sculpture, painting, mixed media and photography.

The exhibition will run until March 7, from 7-9pm at Gate Village 4, DIFC. An auction is set to be held after the exhibition.

Elise Bijon, WFP’s partnership and business development manger for the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, told Gulf News that the whole initiative took shape at the WFP office in Iran. “Some artists donated artworks to WFP to help raise funds to support our programme there, where we work with refugees, and from there they agreed with the Farjam Collection that their artworks be shipped to Dubai and exhibited for two months.”

She added that proceeds from the auction would go directly to WFP’s programme in Iran. “The date of the auction will be announced in due time,” she said.

As to why Dubai was chosen for the exhibition, Bijon said that Dubai is a regional art hub and that the idea was to give the exhibition a regional scale and Dubai seemed to be the best place for such an endeavour.

“The whole idea behind the collaboration is help raise awareness about the issue of global hunger and Dubai is a perfect platform to raise visibility in the whole region. It is a great way to reach people who might have the power to make decisions and might have the power to make donations to make a difference,” Bijon added.

The WFP has worked with the art community in Dubai before, she said. “We are feeding the bodies and art is feeding the soul.”

Hamilton said that the collaboration happened because Farjam is very interested in the region’s education and philanthropic programmes. “So we thought that by collaborating with someone who shares the same goals as us will be a good opportunity to show the people of Dubai what the cause is really about.”

“We hope that people would come and be inspired to make a difference,” Hamilton said.