Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NYT article and Polaris Project blog update

In addition to this very interesting NYT article on art projects with child soldiers, the Polaris Project blog has been updated. I strongly encourage you guys to follow it because it presents interesting responses to human trafficking.

Since the tradition began in 1954, the title of goodwill ambassador for United Nations’ agencies has usually been appended to names that might have been borrowed from the credits for a film festival: Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn, Mia Farrow, Susan Sarandon and, lately, Angelina Jolie and George Clooney.

But on Tuesday Simone Monasebian, the New York chief of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, introduced the next ambassador to be named for her office, a man well known in certain circles but not often followed by paparazzi: Ross Bleckner, the painter, who will be the first fine artist named to the ceremonial post.

Earlier this year Mr. Bleckner, whose mostly abstract work came to prominence in the 1980s and who has long been involved in AIDS-related causes, went on an official mission to the Gulu district of northern Uganda. Gulu has been terrorized for many years by the rebel force known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has abducted and conscripted thousands of children, forcing boys and girls to become killers and sex slaves.

Using thousands of dollars’ worth of paint, brushes and paper shipped from New York Central Art Supply in the East Village, Mr. Bleckner, 59, worked with a group of 25 children — former abductees and ex-soldiers — for more than a week at a Roman Catholic aid center. The children made 200 paintings that will be sold at a benefit at the United Nations headquarters next month at which Mr. Bleckner will be appointed goodwill ambassador. Several of the luminous paintings are now on view in the front window of the clothing store Moschino in the meatpacking district, whose company is providing money to support the Gulu project.

Finish reading the article here.

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