Horsham art exhibition to help Philippines relief effort

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Horsham is to host a charity art exhibition in aid of the Philippines typhoon relief effort on Sunday December 8.

The event, organised by charity 90 to 1, will run from 2pm to 10pm at Drill Hall, Denne Road. Live music, a full bar and children’s activities will also be on offer.

Local artists and schoolchildren have donated a range of works to the cause, including paintings, photography, etchings and illustration. Local artists include Nadia Tait and Paul Jode, while Christ’s Hospital School has donated 80 photographs. All proceeds will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal.

90 to 1 was set up in the wake of the Philippines disaster on November 12 and refers to the £90m price tag that accompanied the sale of Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud earlier this year. Co-founder and curator of 90 to 1’s first art sale Matt Malone said that the idea came to him to after seeing coverage of both the disaster and art auction on the news.

“I was sat eating my breakfast one morning 2 or 3 days after the Philippines disaster happened. The record for art sold at auction broke for £90m and it was reported straight after the Philippines without a single breath in between. It struck me as quite shameful that the two things could share a news minute together, without anyone commenting on the disparity between the two.

“Right now the DEC appeal has only raised £68m whereas the paintings sold for £90m in a heartbeat. I think those two figures are actually quite scary.”

Matt, 27, who is also training to be a primary school teacher, said: “We’re all supposed to be able to find something in art together, a shared experience so I thought why couldn’t I use that to raise some money for the Philippines?”

Despite having no artistic background, Matt has produced and curated the exhibition with the help of friends and co-founding band mates, Phrase Mob. The hip-hop group came second at last month’s Battle of the Bands. They have since used the prize money to kick-start the 90 to 1 project.

Suggested prices for the artworks will range from £15 to at least £100 so that “there will be something for everyone”.

The most expensive pieces will be paintings donated by the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School, said Matt.

“I’m not interested in selling anything cheaply. This is an entire nation’s infrastructure that has almost been wiped out, it’s not just about the getting people fed, it’s about promoting the idea that this country will need help for a long period of time.

“Disasters Emergency Committee is a really good charity to go through, they are coordinating with lots of different charities that are going to be on the ground and have a presence for a long time.”

Matt hopes that Sunday’s event will be a way to reignite the local arts scene in a town that has a “great community spirit”.

“I think Horsham has an art scene but it’s of a certain type, a certain price range and I’m hoping that this will reignite some of the young people.

“The art scene is obviously there [but] we could do with a regular presence, like a venue. I really hope that 90 to 1 can do more and go on to repeat the process, I don’t see any reason why it should stop after the Philippines. It could pick one cause a year.”

When asked if he would consider a career move into curating, he said:

“The funny thing is, I’m not an art buff. But I do enjoy art and I think it’s been marginalised. Coming from a teacher’s perspective, art is being marginalised within the curriculum as something that is not essential. Britain has always been a world leader in the arts, and we need to maintain that. Hopefully we can reignite that.”

Entry to the event is £3, with free entry for children under 14. Live music includes performances by Ship of Gold and Jack Paxton. The event is being held in cooperation with Horsham District Live Music Alliance and High Gain event services. A percentage of bar sales will go to the Philippines.