Unicef taps online shopping to auction off limited-edition artworks

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MANILA, Philippines—All work and no play makes Juan a dull boy.

For the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), play is a right and a must for proper physical and mental development of children.

In a bid to give Filipino children a chance at day care and educational play, play-inspired art and furniture pieces will be auctioned off by Unicef on October 21 to 27 through an online shopping website.

Unicef hopes to raise the stakes of their third annual “Auction for Action” through donations of limited-edition pieces from in-demand artists and international brands.

“It’s a great way to celebrate the message of play, the rights of the child to play,” said celebrity host Daphne Oseña-Paez, who renewed her contract as Unicef’s Special Advocate for Children during a press conference on Wednesday.

Unicef’s Philippine country representative Tomoo Hozumi said the auction “is a great entry point” to bring attention to issues relating to children.

For advocates of learning through play and based on the World Health Organization’s recommendation, children should have at least an hour of physical play and other activities each day for proper physical and mental development.

Earning P1.4 million in 2011 and over P3 million last year, proceeds from the annual online auction have been used for the organization’s early childhood care and education projects. The targeted P5 million this year will also be used for their supervised neighborhood play program.

Celebrating the message of play

Every year, “Auction for Action” collects and auctions off art and furniture pieces enough to make a child happy.

In addition to paintings celebrating children and play, last year’s collection included Kenneth Cobonpue’s flower-inspired “Bloom” chair, Michael Cacnio’s “Fly Up” sculpture depicting a boy chasing balloons and a children’s bamboo-frame bike from KawayanTech, among many others.

“It’s a great way to share what is so good about the Philippines—our craftsmanship, our creativity, our art,” Oseña-Paez said of the yearly showcase.

This year’s collection has yet to be unveiled but she said it will feature many of the artists that have participated before, with the addition of “new and award-winning Filipino artists,” as well as international brands.

Unlike before, this year’s items will be on display at the Yuchengco Museum at the RCBC Plaza in Makati.

Oseña-Paez, who also has her own lifestyle brand, said the project started with donations from her friends who are in the art and furniture businesses.

“I thought there are enough charity balls and enough fashion shows and things like that. Let’s do something that I know I can contribute to greatly, through my network of contacts in the art and design work.”

She said they decided to do it online to reach a wider audience, with everyone allowed to bid.

“At the same time we would like to do it with least overhead cost,” she explained.

Oseña-Paez said the activity has gathered momentum with many galleries and great artists pitching in to help and even come up with special pieces for the auction.

They are hoping to hit this year’s target of P5 million.

For more information and updates on the upcoming “Auction for Action,” visit http://unicef.ph/.

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