Art prints sold for food
Student raises over 12,000 euros for Beirut victims
The massive explosion in Beirut’s port last month left 190 people dead and thousands more homeless. ‘When I saw the images of my hometown I felt like I was watching a bad movie’, says Lucia. Her cousin’s house is also completely gone. ‘I know all the streets, but it seems so unreal. Everything is destroyed.’
The psychology student couldn’t just sit still and do nothing. Together with her sister and their two cousins, she started the Foto for Food fundraiser in collaboration with Lebanese artists and a Beirut-based hunger relief initiative, Foodblessed. Proceeds from the sale of each donated artwork, 35 euros a copy, will feed a family of five people in need for one month.
However, the explosion is not even the worst thing that has happened to the people in her country, Lucia says. Lebanon is suffering from an economic crisis and the people have been protesting against the corrupt government since October. ‘At the moment, people are just trying to survive’, says Lucia. Many people have less than one euro a day to live on, but as a result of the hyperinflation, a stick of butter now sells for 20 euros.
‘At first I was just sad, but now I mostly feel angry. The government, instead of helping, has worsened the situation by blocking help from other countries and stealing the donations that were meant to help victims’, says Lucia.
The sale of ‘mixed media’ artworks by eighteen Lebanese graphic designers, photographers and painters is more than a means of material support. Lucia wants more people to know about what’s going on in Lebanon. ‘The art has a deeper underlying meaning. One of the pieces shows birds sitting on a clothing line. Its title, Hanging by a thread, reflects the lives of many peoples in my home country’, says the student.
The Najjar sisters managed to spread the word and reached out to 247 supporters. ‘After four days we had already received 3,000 euros and from there it kept going until 12,384 euros, which is crazy.’ Even though the fundraiser has ended and the sisters have printed and dispatched the copies, Lucia is motivated to start more projects along similar lines. ‘People still keep asking if it’s possible to buy a print.’