Starting out as a series of exhibitions, setup by the friends of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student from Central Saint Martins who was viciously attacked and stabbed in East London in the summer of 2008, Art Against Knives has grown from strength to strength, setting itself up as a fully fledged charity working to prevent the root causes of knife crime and violent gang culture in London’s East End.
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Last week saw the second ever Art Against Knives auction, featuring works amongst others by Antony Gormley, Hussein Chalayan, Tracey Emin, Wolfgang Tillmans, and of course the Art Against Knives (AKA) collective. Many pieces were donated by the artists, with 100% of the revenue going straight to the charity. i-D online was invited along to a reception in the intimate setting of the Town Hall Hotel, perusing the varied pieces of artwork, before sitting down to a three course dinner presented by The Rebel Dining Society, in what was a unique combination of food art. Pie and chips, this certainly wasn’t, with each morsel carefully placed onto a wooden artist’s palette, designed as a plate. The old court room at the Town Hall with its impressive art deco features was the setting for the auction. The charismatic auctioneer Ed Rising from Sotheby’s hosted the event, creating an energetic and charming atmosphere for the bidding to take place. The total figure raised for the charity was £20,000 with the Antony Gormley piece in a bidding frenzy between Bianca Jagger and fashion designer Marios Schwarb, which the lady won for £6,500. The money raised will be ploughed straight back into providing creative opportunities for young people in some of the most deprived areas of London. A fantastic event for an important and vital cause. Long may it continue.
Head here to read more about Art Against Knives from i-D online.
Text: Joe Cohen