How art and philanthropy are natural partners.
Art first appeared in caves 40,000 years ago. The arts define humanity and our ability to understand, imagine, create and communicate.
The devastation and destruction of war may not sound like the most obvious inspiration for beautiful art, but for conceptual artist and photographer Bran Symondson, serving in the Special Forces in Afghanistan sparked exactly that. Renowned for his controversial installations using decommissioned guns – which he picked up from battlefields – Symondson unequivocally has a unique creative eye.
Bran has single-handedly raised more than half a million pounds alone for charities around the world.
He always wanted to generate money and help charitable organisations which are close to his heart, such as Human Rights Watch and Environmental Charities.
At a dinner for the Human Rights Watch in November 2017, his piece ‘Fragile souls’ sold at auction for £37,500, while at the Tempus Earth Conservation Gala in May 2018, his specially created work ‘For everything to change we need everyone’ (pictured above) fetched £40,000 for WWF, funding vital research into wildlife conservation. These are just a few to mention, see below all charitable work Bran has been involved in.
Voices For Justice annual London dinner raises record-breaking funds for Human Rights Watch with the help of artist Bran Symondson.
Artists Bran Symondson and Sebastião Salgado among silent auction prizes at the Tower of London gala
Human Rights Watch hosted their annual fundraising dinner November 2017, raising £952,830 on the night – a record-breaking amount for the UK capital. The nonprofit organisation, which is an independent watchdog and campaigning group. Guests were invited to the Tower of London for a gala dinner and silent auction, including commissions by artists Bran Symondson and Sebastião Salgado who followed in the footsteps of previous Human Rights Watch artists Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin.
Symondson’s commissioned the piece ‘Fragile Souls’ – an installation of two decommissioned AK-47 gun covered in blue and origami butterflies – sold for £37,500, and the artist added even more to the evening when he got on stage to present a spontaneous item up for auction. His hand-drawn and signed ‘Dark Side of the Dollar’ U.S. bills replaced government imagery with characters from Star Wars (Above).
Symondson was especially passionate about the event, having attended a research trip to Mosul with Belkis Wille, the organisation’s senior Iraq and Qatar researcher. Wille gave a moving speech in which she shared the story of how she documented the facts of an Isis mass grave years after first hearing a story by a migrant who had fled his Iraq farm.
“I wanted to see what Human Rights Watch did on the ground and get my boots dirty,” Symondson added.
Below are some images taken when Bran was on tour in Mosul, Iraq. His time away gave him the inspiration to make the piece ‘Fragile Souls’ (See Below).
Some Articles below on Bran’s Work – Click on Image to read more. You can also head over to Press page for more press articles.
Other Charitable Events
The first ever Tempus Earth Conservation Gala in aid of the WWF
Celebrity guests and friends help raise vital funds for the World Wide Fund for Nature at our inaugural charity event in London.
Stars gathered at the Dorchester London on Thursday 31 May 2018 to join luxury lifestyle magazine Tempus in raising money for the WWF at the first ever Tempus Earth Conservation Gala.
Hosted by Alan Carr, celebrities including former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton OBE, musician Dougie Poynter, boxer Chris Eubank Jr, and Made in Chelsea stars Georgia Toffolo and Mark-Francis Vandelli and artist Bran Symondson came together to support the cause.
Tony Juniper, WWF Director of Advocacy and Campaigns gave a keynote speech that highlighted that sentiment, drawing cheers from the crowd as he announced the endangered species such as pandas, snow leopards and tigers that have, through the hard work of environmentalists around the world, seen an increase in number for the first time. Arctic explorer and expedition guide Inge Solheim, perhaps best known for leading the Duke of Sussex’s North Pole expedition for Walking With the Wounded, gave a second speech, describing himself as “a climate and nature optimist”. “Climate change is a serious problem, but I’m optimistic. I’m not a fan of doomsday prophecies or propaganda. I’m a fan of facts, of science, of realism – but also of positivity,” Solheim told guests. “Most importantly, I’m a fan of action. We have to translate the worries we have into action.”
A live auction followed led by Christie’s auctioneer Kate Flitcroft, raising £92,000 in the room from lots including a specially commissioned artwork by Bran Symondson, sold for £40,000.
The piece ‘For Everything to Change we need Everyone’ was specially hand-crafted for this event, embellished on real butterflies and dollar bill origami, Bran added something truly special this which has never been added to any other piece, hand-carved branches which look like dead branches of a tree (See Below). This piece is truly extraordinary and now sits in a lucky home somewhere!