Celebrity artists contribute to Shoreditch charity auction

Artist Sophie Conran's "Tree of Life". Pic: Sophie Conran

Artist Sophie Conran’s “Tree of Life”. Pic: Sophie Conran

Over 100 artists, including some famous faces from the Royal Academy, will host a charity auction on Thursday, March 14 in Shoreditch Blackall Studios.

Well-known artists contributing work include Lord Foster, Brendan Neiland and Sonia Lawson. Celebrities such as former Eastenders actress Patsy Palmer and pop singer Kim Wilde have also donated their art.

The charity, Joss Searchlight, provides support to families of children suffering from brain tumours. It was established by Dianne and Nigel Parkes in 2011 after the death of their 10-year-old son, Joss, from brain cancer. The auction will be the organisation’s first major fundraiser.

Dianne Parkes told ELL: “Joss painted everything: paper shells, stones, bottles. Towards the end of his life, art gave a voice to his feelings and to his ambitions.”

A number of contributing artists were prompted to get involved by experiences of death in their own families.

Sculptor Sophie Conran said: “I felt particularly compelled to support this charity as I nearly lost my daughter when she was a week old to meningitis, an illness that also affects the brain.”

Cartoonist Stephen B. Wheatley said: “Childhood is precious. Tragedy robbed me of my beautiful young mother in my early teens, and I have often felt ‘art saved my life’ – helped me survive that pain.”

The charity provides families with gifts and support, and facilitates holiday breaks. Parkes explained: “’We want them to know that good times can still be had and we want to give the whole family some amazing memories to cling to. We also created the Joss Searchlight website as a source of information, where parents can search for practical and financial help.”

A free public viewing of the donated art will take place from 11am to 4pm, followed by the auction at 6.30pm, which will be conducted by Christie’s auctioneer Tom Best.

View the gallery below for a selection of the event’s artworks.

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