Art Empowerment in Asia
Of the 67 million children who are currently not enrolled in school worldwide, 26 million of them live in the Asia-Pacific Region. These children are among our most marginalised, our most excluded, our most vulnerable. The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) exists to help ease the plight of these children, by providing empowering art workshops and programmes to those who would otherwise not have access to such things. In short, SAF are making children smile again – all across Asia.
Right now SAF’s portfolio of social responsibility projects ranges from an art empowerment project geared towards Vietnam’s most vulnerable children, a music and arts programme for orphaned or abandoned children in Mongolia’s capital, creative arts healing projects for victims of human trafficking in Cambodia, a weekend arts programme for underprivileged children living in Hong Kong, to a youth-lead pilot project in rural Nepal to raise awareness of children’s rights.
But SAF doesn’t only exist to serve our most marginalised – it also exists to help support mid-career contemporary artists across Asia by promoting and rewarding some of the best emerging artists of our time.
What are the aims and goals of the foundation?
You can sum up SAF’s mission in two very specific ways. 1. To seriously elevate the profiles of mid-career and emerging artists across the Asia Pacific region, and 2. To raise money to help disadvantaged children across the region by using the arts as rehabilitation, education and therapy. Typically, these children will be the victims of sexual abuse, poverty, drugs or violence, and very rarely will they have access to education.
So… How Does it Work?
The Sovereign Art Foundation was founded in Hong Kong in 2003 as a charity that would promote Asian art, while simultaneously embracing the arts as a vehicle for social change. The model is simple: Annually, SAF runs art prizes in Asia, Europe and the Middle East with the purpose of raising money to help disadvantaged children in those regions. At every Sovereign Art Foundation-run Art Prize Gala Dinner, finalists’ artworks are auctioned off, with the proceeds split evenly between the artists and the Foundation. The dinners also offer a fantastic opportunity for the Foundation to attract patrons, pledges and solicit other donations for its many charitable projects throughout the region. Oh, and the Gala Dinners are a TONNE of fun, too. All are welcome – and SAF would be delighted if you could spread the word and buy a ticket, or table, at the 2016 event on June 3.
Since its inception, Sovereign Art Foundation has raised over US$4.5 million for charities worldwide, and the Sovereign Asian Art Prize has become the largest award for contemporary art in Asia. We think that’s worth talking about!
What can we do to help?
So many things! First of all, you can like the Facebook page so that you can keep up to date with all things happening at SAF. They also need your help physically and are always on the lookout for volunteers to help run the Make It Better Project workshops. These art workshops take place all over the city, from Sham Shui Po to Tseung Kwan O – so it’s likely you’ll be able to find one close to you! All you need to be is passionate about helping children, and not afraid to get your hands a little dirty. You’ll be paired up one-on-one with a child, and though Cantonese is not a requirement at all – it does help! Thirdly, they need your financial support. Just HK$1,000 can provide up to 15 underprivileged children with all the art materials required for an arts workshop. For individual donations, or to become a Patron or Corporate Sponsor, simply email The Sovereign Art Foundation team at [email protected] or visit www.sovereignartfoundation.com for details.
SAF uses all money raised through the Gala Dinner and other fundraising events to organise and fund existing projects across Asia. SAF is currently supporting programmes in Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and has launched its very own Make It Better project in Hong Kong, working specifically with children living in the sub-divided homes of Sham Shui Po.
In 2004, funds raised by the charity were donated to the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) (affiliated to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund) and The Sovereign Art Foundation Fellowship was created. Since then the Foundation has also assisted the Peace Art Project Cambodia, Para/Site and the Youth Arts Festival. Further grants are expected to be announced soon.
The Sovereign Art Foundation exists to help the most marginalised, excluded or otherwise vulnerable children across Asia, including those who have. The model is simple: ensuring schools operate in the best interest of each and every child by providing young students with trained teachers and a safe, protective and inclusive learning environment. These child-friendly schools also strive to offer better resources and facilities, including safe drinking water and separate latrines for boys and girls.