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September 23, 2016

Peace One Day promotes non-violence through star-studded blue chip art auction

By Olenka Hamilton

Art works by Damien Hirst, Sir Antony Gormley and The Chapman Brothers are among lots being auctioned online to mark International Peace Day, Olenka Hamilton reports.

A unique and ‘mystery prize artwork’ by the Chapman Brothers is among lots at a benefit art auction launched by Peace One Day and online auction house Paddle8, to mark International Peace Day, with Jude Law among celebrities endorsing it.

The auction, which will last two weeks with all proceeds going directly to Peace One Day, includes a print by Damien Hirst with a starting bid of £10,000, as well as pieces by Sir Antony Gormley, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Ryan Gander and Harland Miller among others. Bidders simply need to register their names and credit card details with Paddle8  in order to start bidding on the artworks, and will receive notifications if they are outbid.

By linking art with non-violence, Peace One Day’s vision is ‘a non-political attempt to present some concept of peace that wasn’t eroded by partisan beliefs,’ says Jake Chapman, the curator and one half of the iconoclastic artistic duo the Chapman Brothers.

Founded in 1999, Peace One Day is the non-profit organisation behind the United Nations’ unanimous decision in 2001 to adopt the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence. Chapman explains how the inaugural fundraising art exhibition in 2012, AKA Peace, saw top contemporary artists transform decommissioned AK47s into artworks ‘to revoke their violent pasts and pervert the function of the gun for the purpose of peace’. The artworks were then sold and £467,000 was raised.

The auction is part of a greater movement which links art with non-violence. Notably, peacebuilding charity International Alert marked the day with a series of street art ‘peace-themed’ mural paintings produced in countries affected by conflict such as Lebanon, Ukraine, the Philippines, the DRC and Uganda.

The paintings were livestreamed on social media as part of Alert’s #ART4PEACE campaign to raise awareness around non-violence as a global issue.

‘Art can express what words can’t express. Art can be more powerful than articles or books or interviews. A one second impact that can make someone think,’ explained Patrick Van der Vorst, entrepreneur, dealer and art expert, and CEO of Paddle8, which has worked with over 250 charities to date.

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Chapman though, whose own work is known for being confrontational, is more pragmatic, stressing the importance of the fundraising itself. ‘For me as the curator of an exhibition, the function of the auction is not to express an opinion, but so collectors can express a financial connection. It’s about encouraging people to buy works of art so that they can surreptitiously redirect money to charity that would otherwise go to taxes,’ he said.

In reference to his commission lot, he was more elusive: ‘We’ll make the work equivalent to the highest bid. We’re testing the parameters of the bidding before we decide what to make.’

You can find out more about Peace One Day here

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