Arts stars give works for Africa aid

Peter Howson, Frank McFadden and Yvonne Taylor are just three of the 83 artists who have donated original pieces to Starchild’s Art for Africa auction.

The Glasgow charity helps orphaned children in Uganda and organisers hope to raise enough cash to build a school for creative subjects such as art and music.

It was set up by Michaela Foster Marsh in memory of her adopted brother Frankie, a Ugandan orphan who died in a house fire, aged 27.

Michaela’s partner Rony Bridges, a Glasgow author and playwright, roped in many of his friends in the arts community to donate to the auction which is being hosted by McTear’s.

Rony said: “In Ugandan schools there’s no creativity, it’s not in the curriculum

“We’ve had an architect design and make a model of the school and there’s a central performance and arts hub in the place.

“All the kids want to be nurses, doctors and lawyers; it’s sort of drilled into them.

“They’ve got no shoes, no pencils, nothing and they all want to have these jobs but all of them can’t be and some of those kids can slip through the net if they’re at all creative.

“That appealed to the artistic community when we told them and we’re so grateful for their support.”

Internationally acclaimed Scots artist Peter Howson has donated an original work for the auction, hoping to boost the fundraising total.

The piece, entitled Kingdom of Heaven, is a pastel work and depicts a tortured figure in typical Howson style.

The 56-year-old said he would even be interested in taking part in art classes with some of the Ugandan children,

Peter said: “It’s a good charity and I’ve always wanted to help kids.

“The idea of building a school is great, and I’ve worked with a charity before in Uganda.

“I’m very keen on helping people there and it takes me out of my own head too.

“Art is very therapeutic for people who have been disturbed. There’s a lot of good artists in Uganda as well. They can draw better than I can, some of the drawings I’ve seen.”

Speaking about the piece, he added: “I just did what came into my head first.

“It is a religious piece but I didn’t want to make it too religious as it sometimes alienates people.

“Most of my stuff is religious. It’s probably a depiction of Jesus, I called it the Kingdom of Heaven but that can be interpreted differently.

Frank McFadden, a well-known Maryhill-born artist, has also donated a piece to the auction.

Frank was shown the ropes by Peter more than a decade ago after he was impressed by his artwork.

The artist, who grew up in Maryhill, said he was more than happy to donate to the cause alongside his mentor, and added: “The piece that I had done was out in Bothwell, in a gallery there.

“The manager contacted me asking about whether I would want to donate one of the pieces to the auction.

“I said ‘yeah, go for it’ straight away and I love the fact that I might be helping someone.

“It’s only a piece of card or canvas and some paint and some time – but it could make a difference to someone in Uganda.”

The auction is due to take place online over three weeks and will start on October 6.

Organisers say not only is it a good chance to see works from all over the world, it is also an opportunity for art lovers and first-time buyers to grab a bargain.

The works, donated by artists from Scotland, the rest of the UK, France Germany and the Czech Republic, have no reserve and all of the artists turned down the opportunity to take commission on the sales. McTear’s are also hosting the auction for free, giving the charity 100% of the profits.

Motherwell-based artist Yvonne Taylor, a former Sotheby’s International Young artist, donated 11 paintings to the sale.

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