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Dozens of children are now busy preparing a special art program called “Women in Auction”, an art auction and exhibition to support women’s and children’s activities in Bali.

Komang Adhiarta, a councilor at Yayasan Anak Tangguh (The Tough Children’s Foundation), said the “Women in Auction” program was part of the foundation’s drawing and painting activities.

In collaboration with Seniwati Gallery, the foundation will display and auction works by the children at Museum Pendet on April 28 through May 5.

Parts of the proceeds from the auction will go the Bali Women’s Crisis Center to help support child and women victims of abuse.

Bali Women’s Crisis Center is a non-profit foundation established last year by a number of women activists and advocates.

There are 40 children, aged between 7 and 15 years old, currently taking part in the foundation’s art program.

The children, living in Guwang village in Sukawati, Gianyar regency, are divided into two groups— the girls’ club and the boys’ club.

They were required to work on art projects with the special theme Katakan dengan Bunga (Say it with Flowers).

Kadek Kristina, a 13-year-old girl, painted an assortment of flowers in vases. One of her paintings portrays a vase filled with frangipani.

Kristina and her friends will present their best 21 paintings with flowers as the main subject. “We have been studying and observing our own neighborhood, home to various native Balinese flowers,” explained this young artist.

Meanwhile, female artists grouped in Seniwati Gallery Arts will contribute 13 paintings.

Ni Nyoman Sani, one of the founders, said that the idea of promoting the “Women in Action” program was in line with the Seniwati Gallery’s philosophy.

In 1991, Mary Northmore and 10 female artists in Bali established Seniwati Gallery. One of its famed artists was the late Gusti Kadek Murniasih.

In the “Women in Action” program, the children received art training and took part in workshops run by an Australian female artist, Jennifer Anne Ashby.

Graduated from Charles Sturt University in New South Wales in Australia, Ashby had worked closely to assist the Aboriginal community — children in particular, to develop art programs there.

An expert in graphic design art, Ashby is a big fan of artists like Aslem Keifer, William Kentridge, Christian Bolansky and Antonio Tapies, whose works voice sociopolitical and human rights issues.

“Jennifer’s experience in supporting the Aboriginal community in Australia has inspired us to do the same here,” Adhiarta said.

Violence against children and women has been very pervasive here in Bali, despite efforts by the government and grassroots community groups.

According to data from the provincial administration, there were 209 cases of domestic violence and child abuse against children aged from newborns to 17 years old in 2012.

Total cases of violence against children and adult women stood at 785 cases in 2012.

The majority of the perpetrators were men (663 persons), with 112 female perpetrators.

Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with http://www.kutefineart.com and owner of http://www.paragonprints.co.uk

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