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Opening exhibition of The Ara Gallery raises $44,000 for orphans

April 28, 2011

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Greg Foster, Area Vice President of Habitat for Humanity Africa and the Middle East, speaking to the Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development, His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Nassir Al Owais.


Pretoria, South Africa
. – The Ara Gallery’s launch on 21 April, 2011 was a great success with more than $44,000 (US) raised for Habitat for Humanity Lesotho’s orphans and vulnerable children program.

The grand opening event featured an art auction for charity lead by Christie’s auction house where six lots, each an artwork donated by one of the six artists participating in the opening exhibition.

Greg Foster, Area Vice President of Habitat for Humanity Africa and the Middle East, speaking to the Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development, His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Nassir Al Owais.

These art pieces made up part of the inaugural exhibition, Through the Eyes of Africa’s Children, which has been put together in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Kodak.

The event was further honored by the attendance of His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Nassir Al Owais, Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development.

The gallery, founded by Ms Moza Mohamed Al Abbar, will host the exhibition until May 21st.

The Ara Gallery’s founder, Moza Mohamed al Abbar, said: “We aim to showcase exhibitions that have a strong message behind them, a concept. Our inaugural exhibition is a perfect example of that.”

Heated bidding led to a total of 163,500 AED ($44,550) raised, which will be donated to Habitat for Humanity Lesotho’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children program. “The Nest,” by Saeed Khalifa, brought in the highest bid at 50,000 AED ($13,624).

Greg Foster, the Vice President of Habitat for Humanity Middle East and Africa said, “Habitat for Humanity is thrilled at the success of the event, and is grateful to The Ara Gallery for choosing Habitat as its partner. The money raised will be used to help some of the 18 million orphans in Africa improve their living conditions. It was wonderful to see how such an event can be used to promote local artists, while at the same time raise money for an extremely needy cause. The generosity of the Emirati people was overwhelming tonight.”

Orphans in Lesotho are children under 18 years old who have lost either a mother or father or both parents, or whose caregiver is unable to provide adequate care, such as an elderly grandmother, child-headed household, disabled caregiver or an abusive parent. Vulnerable children live in households affected by abuse, poverty, HIV and AIDS or other illnesses, which ultimately puts the children at risk.

The amount of more than $44,000 is enough to provide comprehensive housing assistance to 10 households caring for an estimated 50 OVC, with the average family size being five.

The Ara Gallery will continue to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity through the exhibition. Each artwork sold from this exhibition will see 2.5% of the retail price donated to Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, the gallery has produced a book, The Children of Lesotho: Through Their Eyes, featuring the children who inspired their inaugural exhibition that is available exclusively at The Ara Gallery and will donate 50% of each purchase back to Habitat.

“The Ara Gallery, the generosity and kindness extended in support of the orphaned children of Lesotho, and the depth and quality of the inspired works, was a unique and humbling experience,” said Peter Farquharson, Middle East Capital Campaign Director Habitat for Humanity.

Workshops and talks will be hosted at the gallery on the weekends. Currently scheduled events relate to the inaugural exhibition and include tours by the participating artists (on April 30) as well as workshops (on May 14 and 21) led by the exhibition’s curator, Janet Bellotto, which discuss the photography appreciation and an introduction class to photography with an SLR camera. More information can be found on the gallery’s newly-launched website, www.thearagallery.ae.

About The Ara Gallery:
The Ara Gallery is a ‘concept’ art gallery located in Downtown Dubai. The gallery is dedicated to exposing the emerging artists from around the Arab world, while providing a place for art-related dialogue and inspiration to young and aspiring artists. Ms Moza Mohammed Al Abbar founded The Ara Gallery in April 2011. Visit www.thearagallery.ae.

About Habitat for Humanity International:
Habitat for Humanity International is a global non-governmental organization that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 2 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.habitat.org.