This weekend (5th and 6th of October) members of the public will get the opportunity to see an exclusive collection of art donated to the childrens’ charity ‘WellChild’ by 40 of the world’s leading contemporary artists.
From 1030 to 17:00, at Christie’s Education, 42 Portland Place, W1, the exhibition is a preview to the art that will be auctioned off on Monday the 28th of October, at Christies Auction House, as part of an initiative to raise money for WellChild – the UK’s national charity for seriously ill children, which has HRH The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry as its Royal Patron.
Artists who have come on board to support and donate to the event include Anish Kapoor, Tracey Emin, Anthony Gormley, Rankin, Harland Miller and David Yarrow. To date in excess of £500,000 of art has been donated. David Mach and Patrick Hughes are amongst the artists creating brand new pieces exclusively for the Auction. The auction will also include photography by children and young people supported by WellChild, which renowned photographer Rankin has helped to judge.
London Living’s editor sat down with Chris Westbrook, who has curated the exhibition and auction, to find out more…
Chris thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to London Living. Where did you get the idea for art auction?
We’ve been organising art auctions to help charities for around 15 years so after being a guest at an Annual WellChild Awards event attended by HRH Harry and Meghan, the bravery of the children and the work of WellChild inspired me to apply our experience to help them raise awareness and vital funds.
What artists have you got on board?
I’ve had an overwhelming response and support from artists and friends I’ve worked with for many years such as Gavin Turk, Harland Miller, Tracey Emin, Patrick Hughes, Marc Quin, David Mach RA, Antony Gormley RA, Anish Kapoor RA, Richard Long RA and Eileen cooper RA – over 40 artists in total signed up when I called them to support WellChilds important work. I can’t thank them enough they are a generous and wonderfully big-hearted bunch!
Why do you think so many have got so behind this auction?
The help WellChild provide affects whole families and communities, childhood is something we’ve all experienced, it’s something we can all understand and appreciate.
Can you tell us a bit more about WellChild?
WellChild is the national charity for children with serious health needs and their families. More than 100,000 children and young people are living across the UK with serious or exceptional health needs. Many spend months, even years in hospital simply because there is no support enabling them to leave. Meanwhile those who are at home face inconsistent and inadequate levels of support.
Through a nationwide network of children’s nurses, home and garden transformation projects and family support services, WellChild exists to give this growing population of children and young people the best chance to thrive – properly supported at home, together with their families.
What people visiting the preview can expect?
I’ve curated an exciting selection of incredible works of art, it includes paintings, photographs and sculptures, many especially created in response to the WellChild ethos of helping hands, support, and bringing families together.
Henry The Dinner Table (2015) painted
Can you tell us a bit more about the kid’s photography competition – we heard that Rankin was involved!
‘My Life: Through A Lens’ is a photo competition for young people who have been supported by national children’s charity WellChild, One of the charity’s board members from Venture Photography came up with the idea, thinking it would be a great way for the children themselves to tell their own stories. The photographs show the world what life is like for the growing number of young people living with serious health needs, or their sibling carers, and John Swannell and Rankin are amongst the judges for this competition.
Rankin has been a particular inspiration with his generosity around this auction! Not only has he donated a rare and unique experience to the main auction where the winner will be photographed by him, but he also agreed to be a judge. The entries we received from the children and young adults were unbelievably sophisticated and incredibly moving, Rankin was highly impressed!
Can you tell us briefly how you got into the art world?
I studied Fine Art and have a Masters in Art Theory and Criticism. I used to exhibit and write reviews before I helped to set up a couple of very well-known galleries, I then established my own gallery and consultancy.
Can you tell us a bit more about your gallery?
Over the past 20 years, we have specialised in all aspects of collecting Modern and Contemporary Art working with some of the biggest names and estates and was one of the first to exhibit emerging talent alongside well established artists. We work with private clients around the world advising, sourcing and developing art collections. We also specialise in developing art projects to bring Fine Art and social enterprises together for a mutually common good. Last year I was the curator and creative director of the Rhino trail through London which reached over 18million people, this year we’re championing the vital work of WellChild.
What will you be looking to see on this big art weekend in London?
There is so much it’s impossible to get around to everything! Frieze of course but it can be a challenge to get around every stand, the Antony Gormley at the RA is wonderful and I’m excited to see the Kara Walker at the TATE, it’s a must-see.
What are your favourite places to go in London?
I adore the Sir John Soane museum, a cornucopia collection and some of the best Hogarths, Turners and Canaletto’s in London. The Tate is always a favourite and a walk afterwards for Coffee in Covent Garden, or if I’m feeling energetic a trip to the wonderful Whitechapel Gallery and a great beigel afterwards from Brick Lane!
Rob Nicky Carter
For more information about the art and artists, please contact Chris Westbrook: 07941706430 / firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the Gallery on Instagram by following @westbrookgallery.
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