In support of the LAU Emergency Financial Aid Fund, the university will be holding its first online art auction, LAU ArtsRising, from Thursday, February 18 to Monday, March 1, 2021. Organized in collaboration with ArtScoops, the event will feature a wide range of multimedia art by notable LAU alumni and faculty artists as well as friends of the university.
All proceeds will go toward funding current and prospective students who risk losing out on their education because of the financial hardship posed by the economic crisis in the country.
From thought-provoking portraits and abstracts to sculptures, each of the pieces curated embraces Henri Matisse’s mantra that “creativity takes courage.” A driving force for our showcased artists, this spirit of endurance is matched by that of our students who persevere in the face of untold challenges, compounded by the pandemic and the devastating blast in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020.
“We are fully aware of the great weight that our students and their families shoulder under these difficult conditions,” said LAU President Michel E. Mawad, “and we will do everything in our power to share that burden. The LAU ArtsRising online art auction is one of many creative solutions we have implemented to help safeguard our students’ future and continue delivering quality education.”
The twelve-day auction will comprise artwork generously donated by renowned Lebanese painter and former Associate Professor of Fine Arts at LAU Chaouki Chamoun, Department of Art & Design Chair Hannibal Srouji, alumna Mona Hatoum (’72), alumna Rana Raouda (’83) and our distinguished partner in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, Elie Saab, to name a few.
For the artists who had once benefited from financial assistance, this was an opportunity to pay it forward.
“Contributing to student financial aid is a pleasure to the soul,” said Chamoun, who is gifting his painting Land and Mountain of Peace, “especially when it comes from someone whose education, and ultimately his success, was mostly provided for by scholarships, love and the support of others.”
A world-famous multimedia and installation artist, Hatoum has generously offered two pieces from her series T42 and T42 (Gold), in which she has subverted the basic form of a white china teacup by doubling it. The result suggests something highly intimate, which, like The Kiss by Romanian Modernist sculptor Constantin Brâncuși, depicts two forms so close that they merge.
Donating the pieces to her alma mater, Hatoum hopes the generated funds will offer critical support to students and help keep education accessible to more than the privileged few. “When I was a struggling student in the early ‘70s at Beirut University College (BUC), now LAU, I was fortunate to receive financial aid from the university, which allowed me to complete my studies,” she said. “I am happy to now be in a position to donate artworks through the newly formed Mona Hatoum Foundation.”
The proceeds from the auction will be immediately deployed so that academically strong but financially vulnerable students are given every opportunity to realize their aspirations and become the outstanding professionals, thinkers, and leaders the country so desperately needs.