An auction to raise funds for cancer awareness found an enthusiastic Alvin Thomas ready to do his bit for a very worthy charity.
It’s 7pm and a pleasant Wednesday evening. For most people, it is time to relax after a long, hard day at work, and to gear up for the weekend.
But the day is just starting for the diligent staff and volunteers at the Oman Cancer Association (OCA), who have been planning their latest charity fundraiser – The Art Nouveau.
Walking into the Afrah Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt, Muscat, it’s clear that a lot of work has gone into organising the event.
There are 87 paintings and pictures in total, and the overall ambience of the occasion is elegant and colourful. Anyone who is anyone is here, from the Indian Ambassador to Oman, Indra Mani Pandey; to Kamal Ajay Khimji, from the International Association of Human Values (IAHV) and the Art of Living Foundation, in Oman.
But there is more to this event than meets the eye: all the paintings are up for silent auction, and the proceeds will go towards various wings of the Oman Cancer Association, such as Dar Al Hanan and also the Mobile Mammography Unit (MMU).
“October is the ‘Pink Month’ and we trying to do a lot of events so that we can create a sense of awareness about cancer.
“As a part of this, we are conducting workshops and conferences to train journalists to learn how to write about cancer, leadership as well as research courses, apart from this art exhibition as well,” says Dr Wahid al Kharusi, the president of the Oman Cancer Association.
“Early detection is key, and that is what we are striving to achieve. Our Mobile Mammography Unit has been adopted well in Oman, and I urge everyone to avail our services at the earliest.”
Artist Sushmita Gupta, a volunteer for Art Nouveau, was the only artist who sold a painting during the live bid auction. Purchased by an anonymous buyer, Sushmita’s art was the first to leave the stands of the ballroom for a new home.
“I am incredibly happy that my work has found a new place. Luckily, it is also one of my good friends who has purchased my work,” says Sushmita.
“I have pledged my support for the OCA. I love their motto and their open-arm approach. They are willing to provide support to anybody, irrespective of nationality.”
“Early detection always helps. I have spoken to so many friends, and encouraged them to take the test too,” she adds.
The entire proceeds from the sale of Sushmita’s painting will go to the OCA.
In total, seven paintings were sold in the auction, and a total of more than RO1,000 raised. The remaining paintings will be returned to their respective owners. However, five artists have pledged their paintings to the OCA.
Allen Thomas, a volunteer for the OCA says: “We have been working extremely hard to create an awareness of cancer among people. This auction is one way we made an approach to the same.”