Artists join creative forces to make practical contribution to Hatian earthquake survivors. (artwork with list of contributing artists courtesy of Phil Starks)
Demonstrating their ability to make meaningful practical contributions to the world community, some thirty artists donated works to the Artists for Haiti fundraising exhibit, which opened March 7, 2010, and will run until March 21 at the Indigo Sky Gallery, located at 915 Waters Avenue in Savannah, Georgia. Participating artists set the prices for their works with 100 percent of the proceeds slated to go to relief organizations working to assist the victims of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti in January.
The exhibit is comprised visual works ranging from traditional and innovative sculpture to mixed media canvases, water colors, and photography. Addressing the full-house audience, artist and Indigo Sky Gallery founder Jerome Meadows emphasized that by hosting a fundraising event for Haiti, “The gallery is serving one of its most important functions right now.”
A Positive Response
The community’s positive response to the event became quickly evident as red dots indicating a sale began to appear next to various works. The idea for the event, said Meadows, came from Vaughnette Goode-Walker, the Telfair Museum of Art director of cultural diversity and author of the forthcoming book, Going Home. Artists responding to the call included such veteran talents as Suzanne Jackson, Imke Lass, and Luther E. Vann, as well as emerging artists like Phil Starks and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) student Michelle Raab.
Along with Chloe Castro, Jessica Matthews, and Kathy Fritz, Raab was also one of the SCAD interns that Meadows credited with “putting this whole thing together.” Her art contribution, a unique blending of sculpture, painting, and words, is titled Fading, and consists of a plastic female torso painted over with a woman’s face, the silhouette of a man carrying a woman’s body, and individual lines of poetry. One section of poetry could almost be read as an open letter to the people of Haiti:
“But if you smile
I know that it will be okay
even if you’re not here
In Support of the Children
Originally from Ghana, William Kwamena-poh maintains a studio in Savannah’s famous downtown City Market Artist’s Colony and is among the popular artists in the Southeast. He described Haiti as “a second or first cousin to whom one automatically responds if you see them endangered. “If something happens to one, you go over there and say what can I do for you? What can I do to help? So donating to this cause was a natural thing. I didn’t have to think about it.
Specifically, Kwamena-poh donated two brilliantly-rendered paintings entitled Market Place and Voting Rights. Both of these works, he said, reflect his understanding of life in Haiti. “When we look at most of the work in Haiti, it is mostly images of women in a market place, or women in action, women producing and going to the market. Or things that are communal in nature, reflecting a community identity. That’s why for me contributing to this exhibit was a natural thing to do, but I wanted something colorful, that reflected what Haiti’s all about.
“And the children. The children are the ones who ultimately don’t really understand what’s going on but they end up suffering from what is happening. They’re innocent victims of whatever the cause of what’s going on. Whether it’s wars, natural disasters, the children are always the victims and we need to support them to make sure they’re ok.”