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What impact can works of art have in the society, and do works of art mirror reality, of all that is seen and heard, or is a piece of art an expression that stems from the private unseen soul of an artist? Art does reflect the world, surely, and no matter how abstract some works can be, art can unify and bring people together. Therefore, it is no wonder that the role art can play in improving communities is inextricably linked to the existing fights for social justice and change in the world, and art is often used as vehicle for good- whether it is to improve and beautify communities, or to tell a story, or to commemorate an event, and last but not least, to raise money for charity. The proceeds of the sales of artworks in aid of charities is no new thing, and auctions are a fun and popular way of encouraging people to be the highest bidders!

Indeed, at Investing In Women’s inaugural charity fundraiser in aid of Womankind Worldwide and LedByHER in London last year, online art curator, Sartch, generously donated a painting by Godwin Adesoye (Natural Essence) to be auctioned off for charity, contributing to the grand total of nearly £20,000 raised on the night. And earlier, I highlighted the engagement of Bonhams, the workplace of one of our judges, Giles Peppiatt, in charity fundraisers. In Nigeria, Arthouse Contemporary, which established its foundation, Arthouse Foundation in 2015 also uses art for good. 

The Arthouse Foundation has been supported in part by the charity lots of Arthouse Contemporary and, during each auction, artists or collectors donate artworks whose proceeds go directly to supporting the foundation. The auction platform has also been used to raise money for other charities including Standard Chartered Bank’s Seeing is Believing charity. Among other reasons, the foundation was created as a vehicle to give back to the art community in Nigeria and it runs an artist residency programme where two artists per session partake in three-month residencies.

It also provides a platform for artist talks and informal meetings between artists, curators and students and the residents have worked with many different age groups and demographics, from secondary school children at Falomo Secondary School, to university students at Yaba College of Technology. Investing In Women found the art sector to be one of the most important ones to watch when it comes to adding value to the overall economy as well as communities. 

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Godwin Adesoye
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