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SNOW in Singapore – art and dinner fundraiser for UN Women


Helen Thompson
WVoN co-editor

Originally a barracks for the British army in Singapore, Dempsey Hill was host, on Wednesday night, to a preview of the UN Women Singapore’s annual art exhibition and auction to generate funds for the region.

In between restaurants and upscale shops, the Red Sea Gallery hosted the sixth annual SNOW Art Exhibit and silent auction.

SNOW – Say No to Oppression of Women – is the UN Women Singapore’s fundraising platform.

It all started, said Pia Bruce, Executive Director of UN Women Singapore, with a focus on gourmet food and then expanded into a gala dinner, art exhibition and art auction.

The funds generated from the art auction and accompanying gala dinner on October 7 will be used to support UN Women projects throughout Southeast Asia.

Ms Bruce explained that “this year we’re looking at a project in Cambodia helping bamboo weavers develop a better supply chain . . . We’re also contributing to projects for women battling HIV/AIDS and making a living as well.”

The UNIFEM Cambodian project, Improving Bamboo Handicraft Value Chains for Women’s Economic Empowerment is designed to help women develop their business potential through technology.

With more information about potential markets, they can increase their productivity and generate more income.

“SNOW also funds our public education and outreach activities for the next year,” Ms  Bruce said.

She hopes to raise S$300,000 to fund UN Women Singapore’s annual projects.

Previous programmes supported by SNOW funds include Aceh women affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami, crisis centres for the victims of human trafficking in Phnom Penh, and HIV/AIDS awareness in Thailand.

Communications, Fundraising Manager and curator, Marisse Reyes has been working on the exhibit for the last six months.

She sourced donations from local and regional artists who have regularly contributed to the art exhibit and also recruited additional artists to donate their work for the first time.

Along with regular contributors to the SNOW exhibit such as Ketna Patel, Ms Bruce explained that: “every year we get to know a few more artists who believe in our cause and are willing to contribute to it.”

This year the exhibition includes works by artists such as Jeho Bitachor, Jovan Benito, Sarah Harvey, Lim Khim Katy, Chris Levine, Russell Young, Shin-Young Park and Takashi Murakami.

The art works are to be auctioned via silent bids and a live auction at the Gala Dinner on October 7.

Diana Francis is a recurring artist in the SNOW art exhibition, having donated artwork for the 2010 auction.

A British artist, Ms. Francis has lived in Singapore for almost 20 years.

“Diana’s work is inspired by her experiences and travels, but interpreted through the eyes of a foreigner, applying contemporary colour and composition to predominantly Asian themes.”

This year she has donated three pieces from her 2010 exhibition entitled “Life is Beautiful.”

Ms Francis describes “Life is Beautiful” as “seven paintings that encapsulate the seven disciplines of the Singapore Sun Festival.”

“Seven pure virtues, music, visual arts, film, literature, wine, cuisine and wellness reinterpreted from a perspective of a ‘moment’ that is priceless, from the eyes of a child.”

The theme of her exhibition, she felt, fitted well with the focus of UN Women in Singapore and SNOW in particular.

“UNIFEM is all about women’s rights globally,” she said, “I feel quite strongly about it . . . that not only in the West it’s still predominantly a male world, but especially in struggling third world countries where there’s still not much information  . . .  Anything we can do to keep driving the awareness . . . I’ll support that.”

From oil paintings to acrylic screen printing and lithographs, the works in the exhibition represent a diversity of experience, many of which speak to the experiences of women and minorities in Southeast Asia and beyond.

For example,while  Jovan Benito’s “Couple Harvesting Flowers” foregrounds the experience of rural women in the Philippines and Thet Naing Soe’s Pa O Tribe No. 19 represents Burmese women, Chris Levine’s lenticular print, “Equanimity” is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Russell Young has captured Audrey Hepburn.

While Ms Bruce would like to attract bidders to the art exhibit, she also sees it as a way of offering the Singapore community an evening of art, wine and food as well as promoting the work of UN Women in Singapore.

She said: “We are happy with as many people as possible coming tonight, even though they might not come for SNOW [gala dinner] later.”

The annual gala dinner to be held at Capella in Singapore on October 7 will also feature as a special guest, CNN Hero of 2010, Anuradha Koirala.

Singapore’s President and Mrs. Tony Tan Keng Yam will be Guests of Honor at the gala dinner.

The art exhibit is available for viewing at


Email Marisse Reyes to place a bid.


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