Before packing up and venturing overseas again, I decided to have a small show at Verona, an iconic café on Karangahape Road in Auckland, displaying a collection of drawings I had completed during my time in New Zealand. This was a unique opportunity for me to reflect on the times I shared with many memorable personalities within the realm of life-drawing. Depending on how life-drawing is approached, it can be an opportunity for self expression, to connect, listen and trust someone in a safe environment. During the sessions, me and the model would often exchange or share thoughts about our fears, goals and struggles. I feel blessed that I have the freedom and ability to provide and create a space for this to unfold.
One of the reasons life-drawing has become a regular practice, is due to the process. The models are not paid professionals, far from it! We come across each other spontaneously at cafés, airports or weddings and share a common curiosity about the other and a desire to connect through art. This shifts the experience from a means to an end to, to becoming an inherent part of the artwork itself. It did not occur to me that these drawings would be enough or sufficient for a show, till I valued the process more than the final drawing. Once my perspective about the drawings shifted, I felt they were worthy of framing and proceeded to search for a space that would mimic the mood and environment cultivated in a studio setting, to display them.
Since the models gave their time for free, I decided it was only right to donate the money collected from sales, to a charity. I approached several framing shops and put forth my vision. I explained that I wished for all the money to be donated and therefore had a ZERO budget for framing. Most of the businesses were extremely supportive, each offering help in any way they could, from glass-cutting, to supplying Matboards. I barely had any costs to cover myself, aside from the meagre costs of paper and graphite used to draw. The charity I selected was Kiwi Trust for Palestinian Children Relief, a organization which supplies families in Gaza with basic human necessities. The Israel/Palestine issue is one I feel strongly about, and feel a personal responsibility to raise when I can.
It brought me great joy to see the photos, of the families in Gaza receiving their food parcel earlier this week, from the donation collected.