Bahrain plans auction to combat sickle cell
Manama, May 21, 2012
Colourful camel statues that have been brightening the country will be auctioned off later this year to raise money for Bahrain's fight against sickle cell anaemia.
Thirty camels made of fibre glass were painted by artists and volunteer students as part of the Wihda Wahda (Let's Unite) campaign, with support from the Human Rights and Social Development Ministry.
The project, called Caravan, was organised by Wihda Wahda exhibition director Dr May Al Otaibi and aimed to unite Bahrainis, regardless of sect and background.
The camels were moved to Seef Mall yesterday in continuation of the caravan which has seen them pass through Arad, Sitra, Isa Town, Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) and Adliya.
Organisers hope to auction off each model in July to raise funds for sickle cell research and to build a new care home for the elderly.
'We hope to raise around BD150,000 ($398,000) to build a new home for the elderly in Bahrain and also to donate a percentage of the proceeds to sickle cell disease research,' said Dr Al Otaibi.
'Wihda Wahda is a civil society campaign with 50 volunteers taking part from all over Bahrain.
'It started out with the idea of a camel caravan which keeps moving from place to place. Two artists worked on the first sample in Arad, before moving the camel to Sitra where they created fibre-glass camels.
'Then they went on to Isa Town, where 30 artists and their helpers from universities and schools started painting each camel, before moving to the Mara'ee exhibition, then to BIC for the Proud To Be Bahraini exhibition in March and then ended up in Adliya for Alwan 338 Art Exhibition.
'The aim was to indirectly mix people up with different artists and helpers so that they integrate with people from other areas in Bahrain. Also by offering good prizes, we give them the incentive to work in the future with us and each other.'
Each camel was designed on paper by around 100 students, aged between six and 12, before 61 others aged 12 to 18 took on the task of painting the camels for a total of 10 days.
They feature designs such as Bahraini traditional pottery, calligraphy, the Bahrain flag, Formula One, gold wheat sheaves, Bahraini national landmarks, sunsets and landscapes and one has been designed as a mythical unicorn.
They were then taken on a tour around the country, where they were stationed at each area for several days before they were spread across Adliya and Block 338.
Members of the public were invited to choose their favourite camel in the Wihda Wahda Vote For Your Camel competition, which came to a close on Saturday night .
More than 20,000 people were said to have voted with 5,000 votes accumulated through social media websites.
Once the votes are counted, the winner will be announced at a ceremony and presented with BD1,000, said organisers.
Sponsors will also take their own camels and place them in a permanent place of their choice, while all those that are not sold in the auction will be put in different areas, including Bahrain International Airport.
'The camels which are not sold will be put on the streets of Bahrain and we are working with the governorates and municipal councils who will assign places where each camel shall be placed,' added Dr Al Otaibi. – TradeArabia News Service