Artists in action

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Sweet---Michael-Cacnio

A limited- edition sculpture by Michael Cacnio called ‘Sweet

Unicef mounts 3rd fundraising online auction of Filipino artworks

The country’s most renowned artists unite once again to uplift the plight of impoverished Filipino children through the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Philippines’ “Auction for Action.”

A one-of-a-kind event, Auction for Action serves as Unicef Philippines’ biggest public fundraiser through online bidding. Now on its third year, it features limited edition and high-value works by over 90 artists in art, design, furniture and jewelry. Among those included in the list of participating artists are Elmer “Emong” Borlongan, Leeroy New, Ramon Orlina, Michael Cacnio, Niccolo Jose, Kenneth Cobonpue, Ito Kish, Amina Aranáz, Impy Pilapil, among many others.

In addition, private companies like Kohler, National Book Store and Jewelmer, also donated special items to the auction block.


At a press preview at the Yuchengo Museum in Makati City on October 2, Unicef special advocate and auction curator Daphne Oseña Paez shared that the support of such a huge number of artists has been both heartwarming and overwhelming.

“All you have to do is ask and you will be surprised how many people are willing to help. A lot of our artists are very busy so they don’t have time to go on outreach programs or do fundraisers themselves. But given the opportunity to help in such a noble cause and in such a fun way, they will,” she enthused.

Paez further noted that many of the participating artists are returning donors since they had previously given their artworks to Unicef since the first Auction for Action in 2011. Consequently, the amount that is raised each year has continued to grow.

“When we raised P1.4 million in our first year, I was in tears. I never imagined we could do that all online and with no event. We said if we could sell P500,000, it would already be good, but we raised almost three times the amount! We were so encouraged by that turnout that we made it the auction a little bigger in 2012, and we made over P3 million,” she recalled.

This year, Unicef’s goal is to raise some P5 million for its worthy causes.

Learning through playing
For the proceeds of Auction for Action 2013, a specific program on education has been handpicked as the main beneficiary. This is the Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP)—a simple, low-cost and easy to organize home-based early learning program where trained day care workers or parent volunteers gather young children in a house, a shaded play area, or under a tree for two to three hours daily, to stimulate learning through organized play.

Unicef supports the SNP program in remote, conflict or disaster-affected communities and in informal settlements located in urban and rural areas.

“I have personally seen how play makes learning more fun and engaging through my own children and the children I’ve met during my trips with Unicef. Play makes children happy, and children who feel secure and loved usually do better in school, are more self-confident, have good self-esteem, and are able to cope more easily with life’s challenges,” explained Paez.

Parents are generally unaware that various forms of play actually keep children healthy and sharpen a child’s skills in listening, self-expression, observation and other tools for literacy. Playing—both structured and unstructured—lays the foundation for a child’s development of future learning and life skills

However, studies in the Philippines show that only three out of 10 children under six years of age have access to day care or any form of early learning. The situation is more challenging in remote and conflict-afflicted areas where access to early learning is even much lower due to inadequate resources, difficult terrains, and low awareness levels on the importance of early childhood education.

This is the reason why Unicef’s Auction for Action’s profits will solely support SNP.

“This auction provides a venue for people to acquire works from leading Filipino artists and designers and help disadvantaged children at the same time,” explained Tomoo Hozumi, Unicef country representative.

The auction goes live on October 21 to 27 at www.ebay.ph/unicef. For a preview of items on sale, log on to www.unicef.ph or visit the Yuchengco Museum at the RCBC Plaza, Makati City until October 26.

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