World famous artists auction work for torture survivors

Iqbal Winter Sunshine

Sri Lankan torture survivor Iqbal's artwork Winter Sunshine 2021 will go under the hammer for charity alongside donated artwork by Antony Gormley, Bridget Riley and Anish Kapoor. - Credit: Freedom From Torture

Works by world famous artists go under the hammer at Sotheby's to raise funds for torture survivors.

Antony Gormley, Paula Rego, Anish Kapoor, Bridget Riley, Maggi Hambling, and Quentin Blake have all donated pieces to Freedom From Torture's 'Drawing A Line Under Torture' auction.

Running online from November 1, it culminates in a live sale at Sotheby's on November 15, when 50 works go under the hammer to raise funds for the Finsbury Park charity.

Lots start at £500, with Gormley's 2nd Blood Field III 2020 expected to fetch £45,000. And with work also by Cornelia Parker, Howard Hodgkin and Alan Jones, it's hoped to raise more than £150,000 for the organisation which was founded in 1985 by Hampstead human rights activist Helen Bamber.

Freedom From Torture art auction

North London-based artist Antony Gormley's 2nd Blood Field III 2020 is expected to fetch £45,000 for Freedom From Torture - Credit: Antony Gormley

The charity offers a sanctuary for vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers at its bases in Isledon Road, and Manchester - helping them rebuild their lives with legal, psychological and medical support.

Chief executive Sonya Sceats said the auction, now in its 12th year, was "a very special event".

"From the work that we do with survivors, we know that torture takes away their voices and ability to express themselves. Art therapy plays a vital role in restoring it. In these troubling times when values of compassion and fairness are under threat, and extremist views are becoming normalised in our society, we’re very grateful to these incredible artists offering such a creative way to show solidarity with people who have survived the worst human cruelty, and are seeking safety in Britain.”

Victim XXXVIII (2015) by Maggi Hambling goes under the hammer on November 15.

Victim XXXVIII (2015) by Maggi Hambling goes under the hammer on November 15. - Credit: Maggi Hambling/Freedom From Torture

Highlighting the therapeutic powers of art therapy as a lifeline for survivors' recovery, the auction includes a painting by Sri Lankan survivor Iqbal. Winter Sunshine recreates a snow scene that he saw on his way to a therapy session at the charity's Manchester centre.

The Old Woman Who Lived in A Shoe (1989)

Highgate-based artist Paula Rego has donated The Old Woman Who Lived in A Shoe (1989) to Drawing A Line Under Torture auction. - Credit: Paula Rego/Freedom from Torture

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“I enjoy art, it gives me peace," he said. "When I am confused I go to painting. I feel proud and happy that I can do something to repay all the help I have had here. I have had good thoughts and ideas from coming here to calm my mind. My life is changed now and because of that I want to help.”

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