Theresa Thompson visits an exhibition helping a charity in Zimbabwe

There’s an especially sparkling line-up of paintings and sculptures awaiting visitors this month to the Brian Sinfield Gallery, Burford. And the fact that this Summer Charity Exhibition has been put on expressly to raise money for the Mother of Peace Charity in Zimbabwe which supports orphans and vulnerable children makes it extra special.

“The work we have in the show is beautiful and very diverse, so hopefully it will appeal to everyone,” said the gallery’s Miranda Marks. It was her sister Belinda’s visits to help the charity in Zimbabwe that inspired the show. “The majority are new works painted specially for the exhibition. Our artists were thrilled to participate.

We are donating 50 per cent of all profits from sales of paintings in the exhibition to the charity. But a few artists have also very generously donated their pictures, so all proceeds from those sales will go to benefit the charity.”

The work on show is certainly beautiful and diverse – and very high quality. Most of the artists will be familiar to Burford gallery-goers. There are works for example from Richard Adams, PJ Crook (a hare racing at full stretch beside an estuary), Michael Kidd, Jeffrey Pratt (Poppies, bursting with colour), a watercolour by Brian Sinfield, Elsa Taylor, Chris Thomas, Antony Williams (Lemon Tree, in egg tempera and typically detailed), and Robbie Wraith (a mouth-watering Gin and Tonic, painted in oil). The paintings’ subjects were left to the artists though many have summer in mind, and a few speak directly of Africa.

Bronze sculptures, for instance, of a hippo, giraffe, and an elephant by sculptors Adam Binder and Anita Mandl; and About to Rain, a superb semi-abstract painting by John Maxwell-Steele that in layers of paint summons up those heady days when the clouds build, day after day, before the storm finally breaks.

Em Isaacson’s The Gentle Child is a pastel tender in its simplicity and sincerity that was inspired by a girl on a picnic for abused and abandoned children held on a beach in South Africa one Christmastime. The girl pictured stood apart, too vulnerable to join in. The Mother of Peace Community was founded over 20 years ago in response to the HIV/Aids pandemic. Since then it has provided a loving home to hundreds of needy children. Where possible, the children are re-integrated into the community, but support continues, for example, with school uniforms or shoes, or vocational training, if poverty would otherwise prevent the child’s education.

“The survival of Mother of Peace Community Zimbabwe depends on donations from well-wishers and supporters.

“With up to 76 children to care for and in order to provide ongoing support MOPC needs reliable funds to meet the running costs,” Miranda explained.

This is a lovely exhibition, with stunning works and heart-warming aims. All works are for sale, there are postcard packs of the children’s paintings to buy – “The Happy Tree” is one favourite – and a video about the charity to watch at the gallery.

As Miranda said, “Even if not buying a painting, any donation to this very worthwhile charity will be greatly appreciated.”


Where & When

Summer Charity Exhibition continues at Brian Sinfield Gallery, Burford, until Saturday, August 29.
See for details.