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Take a look at each of these pictures – let your eyes linger longer than they normally would.
Look at the happiness and beauty bursting from them all.
They each form part of an outstanding initiative by TFWA to mark its 25th anniversary in Cannes later this month.
The association has pledged €50,000 to two charitable organisations, The Lotus Flower Trust* and The Smile Train**, as part of a project called ‘Heart 2 Art: the TFWA 25th Anniversary Legacy’.
On the eve of its annual exhibition, the association asked children who have been helped by the two organisations to paint their vision of a better world under the theme ‘Dreams really do come true’.
Four works of art created by children aged between eight and 18 years from India and Latin America have been selected. These will go on sale at the Cannes show in an attempt to raise some €50,000 for the two causes.
You’ll all have your personal favourite (mine is the gorgeous simplicity of the smiling face – clearly a cleft child cured – with the train, representing The Smile Train, chugging along the top of the child’s face, which also represents a happy and brave new world). Ponder for a moment the fact that a normal, happy smile is what represents a dream come true for this young artist.
The same applies to all 4 works – each has an inherent optimism that captures the nominated theme perfectly. There’s no hint of materialism in any of them, no consumerist aspiration. Just a simple evocation of human happiness.
The artists are (top to bottom) Rahimi aged 18, Megan 11, Jorge 17 and Aarohi 9.
They’re all talented – and clearly happy – young people. But one wonders just what hardships and sadness they each experienced earlier in their lives.
Charity is, at its very essence, about transformation of lives and the ability (a rich, wonderful, sadly underexploited one that we all possess) of the donor to render that change.
As TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen notes: “It is vital that we do not lose sight of the bigger picture, particularly when times are hard. We are all suffering commercially from the current economic situation but for millions of children around the world ‘suffering’ has an entirely different meaning.”
The fund-raising mechanism is simple – the four paintings have each been reproduced in a limited-edition, 500-copy run. Each reproduction will be presented in a specially designed artist’s folder and offered for sale for a minimum of €25 (though delegates are welcome to pay any amount over the price). All funds will go to the charities.
TFWA hopes that the sale of the paintings will enable delegates to match – or even exceed – the €50,000 figure it is donating through its own benevolent fund, TFWA Care, in a bid to raise a total of €100,000 during the exhibition week.
Visitors to Cannes are invited to purchase their ‘Heart 2 Art’ painting in the Registration Pavilion next to the Palais. TFWA confirms that all production and administrative charges will be covered so that 100% of the funds raised through this operation will be donated directly to The Smile Train and The Lotus Flower Trust.
You can reserve your choice of paintings online prior to the exhibition on the TFWA website by clicking on: http://www.tfwa.com/duty_free/Heart-2-Art.1037.0.html.
We’d join TFWA in urging you to give generously. We’re familiar with both charities – each ticks all the boxes of need, transparency, integrity and effectiveness.
Bravo TFWA, this simple, brilliant, joyful initiative says more about the fine achievement your landmark anniversary represents than any conventional celebration ever could.
* The Lotus Flower Trust (www.lotusflowertrust.org) helps the destitute and homeless of India. Its vision is to ‘change lives’ – the lives of children in remote and impoverished communities in India, by providing educational facilities to help break the cycle of poverty.
* The Smile Train (www.SmileTrain.org) helps children to overcome the pain, stigma and disfigurement of clefts by funding life-transforming operations in over 75 countries and funding the development of medical expertise within those countries.