Hiba Smadi and husband Mohanned Ghadban check out a piece of art donated for a fundraiser at Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus. (Courtesy of Gregg Eligh)

100 art pieces donated for fundraiser supporting refugee family new to Victoria

Saanich fundraiser will see every participant go home with a new piece of art

Art has the power to heal, inspire and unite, and a fundraiser at Camosun College next month aims to achieve all three.

Hiba Smadi and husband Mohanned Ghadban arrived in Victoria as refugees in March and are expecting their first child in just a few weeks. The Syrian-Jordanian couple have been busy settling into Canadian life and getting to know Victoria, the new home they describe as “paradise on Earth.”

Their journey was supported along the way by a group self-titled ‘Friends of the Ghadban family,’ who now – as the Ghadban’s start a new journey into parenthood – are hosting a “unique art fundraiser” at Camosun College to support both the Ghadban’s and their extended family with expenses like rent, food and transportation.

READ ALSO: ‘It makes all the difference in the world,’ Victoria group seeking refugee sponsors

On Oct. 3 the Wilna Thomas Centre at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus will become an art gallery, filled with 100 donated artworks. Every visitor will leave with a peace of art as organizers draw names one at a time, giving attendees the chance to choose from the remaining pieces until all 100 are gone.

“It’s going to be very exciting and fast-paced. Everybody who buys a ticket will go home with a piece of original artwork that comes from a Victoria artist,” says Gregg Eligh, photographer and leader of the art fundraiser. “The artist community in Victoria has been incredibly generous. We’ve got oil paintings and water colours and digital art and sculpture. All of this beautiful art is being donated by artists specifically for this cause.”

As artists themselves, the fundraiser’s theme is particularly fitting for the Ghadbans, who will also pitch in their own work. Mohanned is a photographer, graphic artist and animator, while Hiba works in visual and graphic art.

“I did two pieces in Arabic calligraphy and one of them represents life and the other one love,” said Hiba. “That’s what it is all about. If you have love you’ll just live your life and be happy.”

READ ALSO: Block party hosted in Oak Bay to welcome two young Syrian refugees

The fundraiser is Oct.3 from 6 to 9 p.m. starting with an art-viewing reception. Tickets are $150 with all proceeds supporting the nine members and three generations of the Ghadban family. To purchase a ticket, call Gregg Eligh at 250-888-0027.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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