Art in aid of disability

Bladerunner, a sculpture of champion sprinter Oscar Pistorius by John Buckley, exhibiting at the Bloomsbury Art Fair
There are 20m people across the world who need a wheelchair and don’t have one, according to the World Health Organisation, and the average life expectancy of a paraplegic in a developing country is far shorter than in the western world.

The charity Motivation designs wheelchairs that can cope with these challenging overseas environments and is among the charities benefitting from the second Bloomsbury Art Fair, which I blogged about last year.

At this year’s event in July there is more than a nod to the Olympics and Paralympics (one of the pieces in the exhibition, Bladerunner by John Buckley, is pictured above). Organisers are hoping to draw bigger crowds and funds than last year with works as diverse as Sophie Morgan’s beautiful drawings and Olympic and Paralympic sculptures from Art At The Edge.

Flowers, by Jo Oakley, showing at the Bloomsbury Art Fair

All profits from the Bloomsbury Art Fair will be donated to three charities, including Motivation, which support people following a life-changing injury. In its inaugural year last year, the event drew more than 3,000 visitors and made more than £60,000 for its chosen disability charities.

Another beneficiary is Southern Spinal Injuries Trust supports the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury and people living with a spinal cord injury in the South and South-West of England. Funding donated from the 2011 Bloomsbury Art Fair is currently being used to build a pioneering rehabilitation garden in the grounds of the centre.

Walking With The Wounded supports young military servicemen and women who have suffered injuries and will also benefit from the art fair. Money raised will finance new qualifications, courses and further education for people who are seriously injured, enabling the blind, burn victims, amputees and people with other long-term injuries to rebuild their lives and to return to work.

This year’s event also features a creative arts programme and live music and sculpture demonstrations in the courtyard of the exhibition venue Goodenough College. Among those returning to this year’s fair are artist Sophie Morgan, photographer David Constantine, sculptor Ian Edwards and The Helium Foundation, which will be showing works from artists such as Nick Walker and Damien Hirst.

With such a diverse range of mediums and pieces (prices range from £50-£25,000) and a huge array of galleries, dealers and artists (and by huge array, I mean established and emerging artists as well as able-bodied and disabled), it promises to be a fascinating event.

* The Bloomsbury Art Fair runs from 6-8 July 2012 at Goodenough College, London House, Mecklenburgh Square, WC1N 2AB. Ticket information is here.