UNITED NATIONS: Ross Bleckner is first artist to be appointed U.N. Goodwill AmbassadorRecord ID: 386166
- Title: UNITED NATIONS: Ross Bleckner is first artist to be appointed U.N. Goodwill Ambassador
- Date: 14th May 2009
- Summary: UNITED NATIONS (MAY 12, 2009) (REUTERS) PAINTINGS CREATED BY UGANDAN CHILDREN DISPLAYED ON THE WALL PHOTOGRAPH OF UGANDAN CHILD ARTIST PAINTING BY UGANDAN ARTIST ON THE WALL (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROSS BLECKNER, ARTIST, SAYING: "Many of them do look forward to going back to school and continuing their education and staying in Uganda. And since they've gone through so much they are very concerned about peace." VARIOUS OF PAINTINGS CREATED BY UGANDAN KIDS ON THE WALL PHOTOGRAPH OF UGANDAN CHILD ARTIST
- Reuters ID: LVA6UZOCBOLLSHWNHE0RXEK4EQSX
- Duration: 00:00:47
- Topics: Entertainment
- Story Text: Ross Bleckner is the first artist to be appointed a Goodwill Ambassador to the UN. After visiting Gulu in Uganda, he showcased paintings created there by former child soldiers and abducted girls.
Hollywood stars like Nicolas Cage and Alex Baldwin descended upon the United Nations on Tuesday (May 12) in support of an exhibit to benefit victims of human trafficking. The exhibit called "Welcome to Gulu"
showcased paintings by former child soldiers and abducted girls from Gulu, Uganda. The organizer of the exhibit was renowned painter Ross Bleckner, who became the first artist to be named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations.
Bleckner traveled with the United Nations to Gulu in Northern Uganda on an official mission, assisting in the rehabilitation of former child soldiers and abducted girls through art therapy. Bleckner conducted a week long workshop for 25 children, many of them orphans, encouraging them to express themselves and come to terms with their past through art.
"Kids are the most un-self-conscious and to be able to get them at that point, I think, has the most possibility to actually have a positive effect," Bleckner told Reuters.
In recent years, Gulu and other areas of Northern Uganda have been plagued by rebel groups abducting, recruiting and conscripting thousands of children, forcing boys to be killers and girls to be sexual slaves.
Actor Nicolas Cage, who was there to introduce Bleckner said he was present that night not as an actor but as a humanitarian.
"These children's paintings say a thousand words and they require no translation. May their colorful work bring a lot more action to the problem of human trafficking - particularly the trafficking of children," he said.
The United Nations estimates the global annual profits made from human trafficking is more than 30 billion dollars (USD) and an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year.
Bleckner said he hopes art can help with the emotional scars created by human trafficking. He said he noticed a positive impact from his experience in Gulu.
"Many of them do look forward to going back to school and continuing their education and staying in Uganda. And since they've gone through so much they are very concerned about peace."
The proceeds raised by the sale of the 200 children's paintings, as well as portraits taken by Bleckner, will benefit former child soldiers and abducted girls.
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