By Arab News
By Hams Saleh
Lebanese artist Fatima Dia is auctioning her painting of last week’s tragic Beirut explosion, “Rising Angels,” to help those affected by the blast which tore through the capital on Aug. 4 from the city’s port area, killing over 135 and injuring thousands more.
The artist will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to people who lost their homes and were affected by the blast.
In a post Dia shared on Instagram, captioning a video of the drawing in process, she said that at the beginning she had created the painting as a way to express her feelings.
“But now that you like it and it started going viral, I decided to sell it in an auction and donate 100 percent of the amount (no matter what that amount will be at the end) to the people who lost their homes and were affected by this tragedy,” she told her 13,800 followers.
“Everything will be broadcasted live on my page to guarantee the transparency,” the painter added.
When speaking to Arab News, Dia said that beside portraying the crisis, the acrylic painting also showed how the capital city used to look — lively and cheerful.
“When the explosion first happened, I was in shock just like everyone else. We did not know how bad the crisis was until after two days. So, I felt the need to express my feelings because I was really annoyed,” the artist said.
“The first thing I thought of was how Beirut looked like before. If you notice the buildings are all in cheerful colors like yellow, red and blue. Even the colors of the sky and the sea, they all showcase how beautiful Beirut was and what it has become,” she added.
Dia’s family has been affected by the explosion. Her sister, she said, works close to the port area and was injured. But luckily their situation is much better than that of the thousands of people left homeless.
“The most heartbreaking thing was of course the people we lost. So I tried to represent the people who died as the angels you see in the painting. White of course symbolises pureness,” she explained.
Dia said her piece took around three days to be made; two days to draw and one more to edit the video that depicted the process.
Speaking about the auction, she said she did not expect such success.
“When I first drew the painting I didn’t expect it would go viral at all. If I knew, I would have drawn it bigger,” she said. “I didn’t even expect anyone would buy it, because artists get used to their creations and they stop seeing what others see in their work.”
Dia also paid tribute to her sister Roxana Dia — who lives in France — saying the donation was her idea.
“She insisted that we had to do something about the painting. She told me ‘the drawing is going viral, you have to use that in your favor and do something to help the people,’” she said.
So far, the selling price of the painting has reached $15,000.
The auction deadline is Aug. 30, 2020 at midnight Saudi time, but Dia said if it made a good enough amount, she would put an upper limit on the price, “meaning the auction can end before Aug. 30.”
Artists around the world, including Canadian-Lebanese singer Massari and UAE-based musician Angi Shaya, have been supporting Dia’s artwork and her humble initiative.