Young artist Velvet Zoe Ramos raised £400 to support our work in Darfur, with a remarkable art installation in London.
Velvet created her installation, ‘The Feast: A Banquet of Crude Empathy’, as her final year exhibition for her BA degree at St Martin’s College in London. She was inspired to raise money for our work in Darfur after meeting one of our partners who’d been based in the region.
“I interviewed a Caritas employee who worked in Darfur,” says Velvet. “Because Darfur is forgotten in the media, I thought it would be a good opportunity to contribute in a small way.”
The guests at Velvet’s installation walked into a room with blank white walls and a sterile tiled floor to find a sign inviting them to a banquet. A menu was on display, listing types of food that aid agencies distribute in places like Darfur.
A long table was covered by a large bag of rice that hung over the side. Cooked grains such as spiced chickpeas, cornflower dumplings covered in banana leaves, polenta and a mixed bean salad were spread out on top.
The guests were invited to help themselves to this food – by scooping it up with hollowed-out spoons.
Underneath the table were a cluster of pots, with images of gathering and eating and hands and spoons depicted inside them. In contrast, the outside of the pots had either scratched or deteriorated surfaces or were patterned with imprinted rice grains.
“My installation referred to the dynamics of harvest, waste and famine as well as the ritual of cooking, and the giving and receiving in circumstances of need,” says Velvet. “The hollowed-out spoons referred to the never-ending hunger that millions of people face.”
Hazel Williams, our Darfur Humanitarian Coordinator, said: “I have always loved art, but never thought how it could be linked to Darfur. Velvet’s work is great, and listening to her talk about its meaning is truly inspiring. Unfortunately Darfur has dropped off the radar, and it’s people like Velvet who can help to highlight what’s happening there and of course raise those vitally needed funds.
“The situation in Darfur remains an emergency. There are more than 1.8 million people still living in camps, and most of them have been there for over 7 years.
“We’re working with ACT and Caritas, two coalitions of Christian organisations from around the world as part of the largest humanitarian response in Darfur, providing food, water, education, healthcare, hygiene and opportunities to make a living.
“It’s great to have Velvet supporting us, and we’re looking forward to seeing more of her work in the future.”
For more information about Velvet’s work, please contact Renee Pfister Consultancy