The Instagram-based art fundraiser Art Relief for Beirut was launched last week, and raises much-needed funds for Impact Lebanon and the Lebanese Red Cross, two organisations working in Beirut following last week’s devastating explosions
The two explosions in Beirut on August 4 have left 220 people dead, 7,000 injured and an estimated 300,000 displaced – though the damage from the huge blasts is still being measured. For a country already impacted by an economic crisis, the explosions have left Lebanon in the midst of a devastating humanitarian crisis too.
Shortly after the explosions, the Instagram-based fundraiser Art Relief For Beirut was set up as a way of directing much-needed funds to Impact Lebanon and the Lebanese Red Cross, two organisations working on the frontlines to help people in Beirut. The fundraiser has been live for five days and has already raised almost $100,000, with artists from around the world taking part, including Sophia Al-Maria, Angelo Plessas, and the joint Turner Prize winners Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani.
“I had been working for the past two months on a show to benefit families that have been affected by the ongoing economic crisis in Lebanon. After the explosion, I felt helpless because many of my friends and family members had near-death experiences. For me, witnessing from afar the destruction was heartbreaking,” explains Mohamad Kanaan, who founded Art Relief For Beirut. All artworks featured in the fundraiser are posted on Instagram with a donation amount, and pieces are sold once a buyer sends a donation receipt.
“At first, I contacted a few friends,” Kanaan continues. “Ali Cherri was the first artist to respond, and we sold ten drawings in less than 15 minutes. The momentum was great!” Kanaan is calling on as many artists as possible to donate works to the sale, and the initial fundraising goal of $50,000 was surpassed in a matter of days. “So the goal now is to raise as much as possible. The damage from the explosion in Beirut is estimated at around $10 billion, so that gives you an idea of just how much Beirut needs us right now,” says Kanaan.
“There has been a lot of support from the art community all over the world to help Beirut. The road to rebuilding the city is going to be long, but using the power of art to do good in the face of such destruction is a humbling honour. And I urge every artist to support this cause, their works can really make a difference.”
Follow Art Relief for Beirut on Instagram for more updates.