IAA and humanity

The artists give their organs: an initiative of the South Africa National Committee. Please, read here:

 

South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA)

A Visual Arts Project: 'SAVE SEVEN LIVES'

The South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), member of the International Association of Art (IAA), a NGO in official partnership with UNESCO, shares a common desire with art associations world-wide in promoting the interests of the visual arts and visual artists globally. An important vehicle in this regard is the show-casing of events to promote the image of art practitioners and art lovers, thanks to participation in exhibitions, art sales and similar mainly self-serving opportunities. It cannot be denied that visual art also has a humanitarian role to play, transcending spiritual and materialistic wellness. In pursuing this particular objective and being sensitised by the great need for human organs to be donated to seriously ill patients, SANAVA launched a national project in 2014, called 'SAVE SEVEN LIVES'. The visual arts, by hosting art exhibitions and motivated speakers, are to be used as a platform to alert the general public about the extent of these needs, and procedures to be followed in addressing the issue.

Incidents that served to prepare SANAVA to launch the project relate, first of all, to a request received some three years ago from its branch Ad Artem at Klerksdorp in the North West Province of South Africa, where there is a dialysis centre experiencing a serious shortage of willing donors, and where a 'Gift of Life' art exhibition had been envisaged. For various reasons the project could not be pursued at that stage. More recently, by mid-2013, the 'Save Seven Lives' project was triggered by an unselfish example of human outreach when the Pretoria sculptor, Sanna Swart, member of the Association of Arts Pretoria, decided to donate a kidney to a friend of hers, a locally known opera singer who had been suffering since many years of a kidney disease. The transplant turned out to be a perfect match. Members of the local arts community gathered around an art exhibition 'The Gift of Life' on 20 October 2013 to celebrate the successful event and to pay tribute to the two principal actors. Please refer to the photo of Sanna with her artwork 'Adagio', taken at the exhibition.

Why 'seven lives'? The Director of Communications of the Cape Town based South African Organ Donor Foundation (ODF) stresses the fact that a donor can save seven lives (heart, liver, two lungs, two kidneys and a pancreas). Apart from this, up to fifty persons can be assisted with tissue.

It was suggested that the project should be considered to be pursued by SANAVA’s branches and affiliates country-wide as an annual or bi-annual event, bearing August in mind as 'organ-donation' month. Hereby an event could be established that would demonstrate the complementary humanitarian value of the visual arts, while re-enforcing the links of its members at national level. Several branches and affiliates op the National Association will launch the project 'Save Seven Lives' this year.

The 2014 awareness programme will start on 30 July 2014 in the Gauteng Province of South Africa, when the Association of Arts Pretoria will launch an art exhibition 'The Art of Giving – Save Seven Lives'. It will be partnered by its fellow Art Associations at Centurion and Rayton in Gauteng. This will be followed in the North West Province with the official opening on Saturday, 16 August 2014 of an exhibition of selected works by artists from Klerksdorp, Potchefstroom and others in the North West Province. The Sanlam Auditorium of the Potchefstroom Campus of the North West University will serve as venue.

According to reports, there are in South Africa on average 5 000 people waiting for an organ transplant, but less than 500 individuals will receive one. A further 35 000 are waiting for tissue transplants – cornea, skin and skeleton bone. "You never know when you may need it yourself, someday," a recent recipient of a pancreas and kidney, Neil Conradie, 45 year old regional manager of a bank at Klerksdorp, emphasised.

Pretoria, 19 July 2014

 

Association of Arts Pretoria
Save Seven Lives/ The Act of Giving exhibition 2014

Work by Loeritha Saayman

An exhibition of almost 60 paintings by Pretoria, Rayton and Centurion Artists, was presented in collaboration with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA) during August 2014. A percentage of the proceeds were donated to the Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa, a non-profit organisation with the aim of addressing the critical shortage of organ and tissue donors.

Direct inspiration for this exhibition was the words of well-known sculptor Sanna Swart who donated her kidney to a friend. Sanna said: "By donating a kidney I had the privilege of enjoying the unbelievable act of giving. You give because the life-force in you is propelling you to give."

Participating artists were asked to all submit the same size paintings, freely depicting and according to their artistic likes the multitude manifestations of life giving forces. The result was a jubilant celebration of life and in praise of the exquisite joys of acts of giving.

This well attended exhibition took place in the Mackie Street art gallery of the Association of Arts Pretoria from 30 July 2014 to 13 August 2014.

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