Thousands of Turkish artists have come together through social media for a special project held under the slogan, "What is contagious is kindness." The artists will sell their paintings and will donate the revenue they receive toward the education of children who have lost a parent to COVID-19.
The project was launched when members of the Portakal Çiçeği International Plastic Arts Colony (UPSK) and the Turkish Education Foundation (TEV) decided to mobilize artists to support people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the project was first announced on social media, it has garnered support from 2,500 artists. The artists worked day and night with paints and brushes to accomplish the task within a month, motivated by the excitement of touching the lives of the children. Their artworks began being auctioned online on Sept. 15.
Antalya-based artist Deniz Karakurt Şekerci is one of the participants in the project. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), she said that they wanted to do something to help.
Şekerci completed her paintings within the framework of the specified criteria of the project. One requirement was that the paintings bear the message, “Not for sale. The profits will be given as educational scholarships to the children of those who have died from the coronavirus” on the back of the canvases to avoid the project being abused.
Noting that she wants to benefit others with her art, Şekerci emphasized that she supported the project with two works. She started working on the paintings by empathizing through her own life, noting: “In my painting, I tried to portray a woman who lost her husband or family due to the coronavirus. Everyone has a loss, a lack or a life experience. There is a void into which a child who has lost his family falls."
"We made our painting with a little empathy. I would be very happy if I could help the kids a little bit. We will touch a child's life with our art. We will support the educational life of children if someone buys the paintings through which we convey our feelings. Actually, we want the kindness to spread like a virus," she said.
Emphasizing that health workers, in particular, serve altruistically, Şekerci noted that some pay the ultimate price in sacrificing their lives. Underlining that the pain and void that families experience in their own homes and hearts are not always visible, Şekerci said: “We have serious self-devotion here. We owe a very serious duty of loyalty, especially to health workers. We want to repay them through painting, even if just a bit.”
Ahmet Şahin, chairman of the board of directors of UPSK, said that they made this move, especially for the children of health workers who died from COVID-19, and did not anticipate that the project would grow so much.
Extending thanks to those who have supported them, Şahin stated: “We are very happy that this kindness has grown so much. Two thousand five hundred painting artists have produced around 3,000 paintings for it. As a big family, we hope that we will be instrumental in even better things.”