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Roya So Artsy for Mona Foundation

Roya Ansari Roya Ansari

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I recently was incredibly blessed with the opportunity to travel to Haiti with the Mona Foundation as a photographer. In Haiti I personally felt responsible to challenge myself and look past the inevitable: the extreme poverty, the aftermath of the earthquake, the lack of infrastructure. Shooting that felt too obvious, it felt too predictable, and poverty is not a tourist attraction. Poverty is not culture. It’s situational, and as a photographer, I had to challenge myself to navigate through the poverty that surrounded me and to capture the beauty of what people were capable of creating with what very limited resources they had. The one thing that stood out to me immediately was how incredibly resourceful Haitians are. We stopped at a neighborhood where there was a family business that was thriving within their community. Nearby was a dumpster full of metal scraps, and they were able to travel there, collect pieces, and then create beautiful works of art out of them by hammering out beautiful patterns and images. I noticed in another city that one of the local artists stretched T-Shirts over wood (instead of muslin cloth) to create these canvases that he used to paint beautiful, brightly colored acrylic paintings. I’d walk by markets filled with handmade jewelry made from bottle caps and small purses made out of woven plastic bags. Walking through the streets of Haiti, it’s already obvious that the environment is completely saturated with hardship. The struggle to survive, the struggle to make money, the struggle for parents to feed their children or give them an education. Yet they were still able to get creative with what was in their immediate surroundings and to master resourcefulness. Capturing that spirit, that work ethic, that creative drive was incredibly moving to me, and I was inspired to create this collection of paintings upon coming home. The two things that really stood out to me were the bright and beautiful colors, along with creating works of art out of unconventional items. I had this collection of different sized cardboard boxes I couldn’t get myself to throw away, and suddenly my mind was breaking these boxes down and cutting them apart and I just saw mini little canvases. Different sizes, colors, and incredibly flawed. But I liked the roughness, the uneven lines, the places that were ripped from the packing tape, and the shapes of the cardboard. It was raw, and it was honest. So I ripped apart all these cardboard boxes I had into different sizes and just painted them. It was probably the most fun I had because I was so absorbed in the creative process and the excitement of experimenting with a new idea, that it was such a joy for me to create these. I know that different art speaks to different people, but the truth is, you could create a painting that came from such a painful experience that could give someone else so much joy. I want you all to know that I was in a space of humility, and gratitude and joy when I was making these paintings. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did painting them! By making a donation to this campaign that supports the Anis Zunuzi School in Haiti, you have an exclusive opportunity to get an original work of art by Roya Ansari, a Seattle-based fashion illustrator whose work has been recognized around the world by fashion icons David Yurman, Marc Jacobs, Sir John, Nordstrom, has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Allure, Vanity + Trade, the LA Guestlist, and collaborated with international brands Pinkie Swear and Covergirl, just to name a few! Her original works of art usually sell for around $300 to $600. All pieces except for the extra unique cardboard works of art are 11x14. HOW IT WORKS: The first 10 donors to donate $100 or more will receive an original work of art – donors get to choose their piece based on order of donation. For example – the first person to donate $100 or more will get the first choice, the second person will get second choice, etc. 1. Use the link below for Roya So Artsy for Mona Foundation under ABOUT PROJECT to view the art or copy and paste this link: https://monafoundation.wixsite.com/royasoartsyformona 2. Hover over the art to see the name of the piece and then send an email to sarah@monafoundation.org with your name and address and the name of the art you would like. Roya So Artsy will mail it to you. BONUS: Because we are just so excited about this unique opportunity, for anyone who donates $50 or more, you will be entered into a raffle for one of the remaining four pieces of art. For every $50, you will receive a raffle entry. The drawing will be done on Wednesday, October 24th.

About Mona Foundation

We support grassroots initiatives that provide education to all children, increase opportunities for women and girls, and emphasize service to the community.

The schools that we support serve marginalized communities globally. They focus on academic excellence, fine arts and character education to develop capable, ethical, and altruistic leaders who contribute to the betterment of their families, communities, and ultimately their nation.  In 2017 we supported the education of 258,000 students, teacher and parents in 18 projects in 10 countries.

We focus our support on these three areas:

  1. Access – We work with local organizations who know best how to meet the needs of their communities through providing access to education by building classrooms or providing scholarships.
  2. Empower Women & Girls – We believe that empowering women has multiplier effects and benefits all.  Women spend 90% of their earned income on their family and directly impact the economic growth of their communities.
  3. Teacher Training – We emphasize and support teacher training to ensure a high quality of learning and commitment to service.

Visit our website to learn more.

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