More than 25 paintings and art pieces will be available to collectors and supporters of the Lebanese American University (LAU) starting February 18 and running until March 1. The initiative, ArtsRising, was organized by the institution’s Advancement Division in order to raise funds for the university’s Emergency Financial Aid Fund, which supports the hardest hit students who are in need of financial aid due to the deteriorating economic conditions in Lebanon.
“We are fully aware of the great weight that our students and their families shoulder under these difficult conditions,” said LAU President Michel E. Mawad. “We will do everything in our power to share that burden. The LAU ArtsRising online art auction is one of many creative solutions we have implemented to help safeguard our students' future and continue delivering quality education.”
In collaboration with ArtScoops.com, the auction will take place on the aforementioned web platform and give supporters a chance to purchase prized artwork by former Professor of Art at LAU Chaouki Chamoun, Associate Professor of Practice and Department of Art & Design Chair Hannibal Srouji, alumna Mona Hatoum (‘72), alumna Rana Raouda (‘83), and the founder of the Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design degree Elie Saab.
“This auction would not be possible without our beloved alumni and faculty artists who donated their precious work,” explained Nadya Mikdashi, LAU Assistant Vice President for Development, who was amazed with the artists’ affinity for the university. “This initiative really exemplifies just how close and supportive our LAU community can be in times of great need,” she added.
The auction's commonality is that each of the pieces curated embraces painter Henri Matisse's mantra that “creativity takes courage.” The same spirit of courage running in our showcased artists' veins to make art is the same courage that we see every day in LAU students who continue to persevere against all odds.
Some of the alumni artists participating have also experienced persevering against all odds, requiring financial support during their time at LAU, which makes this initiative come full circle for them.
In fact, Hatoum, a world-famous multimedia and installation artist, received aid during her time as a student. To give back, she has generously contributed two pieces from her series T42 and T42 (Gold) in the hopes of generating funds will offer critical support to students and help make education more widely accessible.
“When I was a struggling student in the early ‘70s at Beirut University College (BUC), now LAU, I was fortunate to receive financial aid from the university, which allowed me to complete my studies,” said Hatoum. “I am happy to now be in a position to donate artworks through the newly formed Mona Hatoum Foundation,” she explained.