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Canberra artists for Sunrise Cambodia

Helena Game

When Aarwun Gallery director Robert Stephens met legendary humanitarian Geraldine Cox, founder of children’s charity Sunrise Cambodia, he knew he had to help her cause.

For more than twenty years, Geraldine has worked in Cambodia providing healthcare, education and housing to hundreds of orphaned children and families living in poverty. In 2001 Geraldine became a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her tireless work.

Geraldine and Robert met whilst Geraldine was searching for a portrait of her (below), painted by celebrated artist Robert Pengilley. The portrait is a powerful depiction of Geraldine’s experience of the military coup in Cambodia, during which soldiers attempted to push her and the children off their land. The search led her to Robert Stephens, who was a long-time collaborator of Robert Pengilley’s.

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Robert Stephens with the painting of Geraldine

To support Sunrise Cambodia, Aarwun Gallery will be hosting a black tie dinner and art auction February 2017, to raise funds to help Geraldine continue to reach as many people in possible. The evening will be chaired by Senator Derryn Hinch.

Geraldine will attend the event, where she will be formally presented with the portrait. She says she is grateful for the support of the Canberra art community.

“I’m so thankful to Robert, his team and the incredible artists making this event possible,” she says.

“We believe the only way to break the cycle of extreme poverty in Cambodia is through good health and education. The money we raise through this event will help us help many, many Cambodians, ultimately providing a much better life.”

A work by Wendy Sharpe

A work by Wendy Sharpe

Robert says the work of Geraldine and Sunrise Cambodia is close to his heart, having spent time in care as a child.

“As a young boy I spent many years in institutional care in England and here in Australia as a child migrant. I am acutely aware of the needs of children in care and the love and dedication required to give them a better start in life,” he says.

“I believe Geraldine Cox is one of the most inspirational Australians I have ever met. Her story and the story of the Cambodians in her orbit touched me so greatly that I decided I would organise a fundraiser to support her and the work of Sunrise Cambodia.”

A work by Carlos Barrios

A work by Carlos Barrios

Artists donating their work to the auction include John Olsen, Wendy Sharpe, Carlos Barrios, Geoff Dyer and David Boyd.

the essentials

What: Black Tie dinner and art auction to raise funds for Sunrise Cambodia
When: Saturday 4 February 2017, at 6pm
Where: The Abbey Function Centre, Nicholls
Entry: Tickets are $125 per person. To order tickets email [email protected]

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Helena Game

Helena is a wannabe journalist studying Communications and Journalism at the University of Canberra. Canberra born and bred, she is hopelessly in love with writing, stories and travel. She recently wrote her way around Japan for a creative writing study tour, and spent another two weeks in the Middle East on a journalism exchange, both of which have left her with a proper case of the post-travel blues. While she plots her next adventure, Helena is hoping to gain as much industry experience as humanly possible, and somehow finish her degree at the same time. More about the Author

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