A new socially-conscious digital art gallery is selling emerging artists' work with a portion of proceeds going to British domestic violence charity Refuge, in honour of International Women's Day.
“I think like everyone in the UK, we were quite alarmed by the news of how drastically domestic violence has gone up since the pandemic, so I knew I wanted to do something that was supporting that," Charlie Siddick, founder of Purslane gallery, said.
"And all of the artists are either female or non-binary.”
Ms Siddick says she named the exhibition Mnemosyne after the Greek goddess of memory – inspired by the idea of women as empowered storytellers, while also touching upon trauma.
The former model, who has a BA in art history from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, began her online gallery after being inspired to do something to support the Black Lives Matter movement during last year’s lockdown.
"Like everyone else, I was trapped at home looking at this really distressing imagery and I just felt very strongly that I wanted to do something in some small way that might contribute to the momentum of that movement," Ms Siddick told The National.
And so I thought maybe I should put on a one-off fundraiser, selling artworks by some of my favourite emerging artists.”
That first exhibition included the works of 40 artists, with 25 per cent of proceeds going to inclusivity charity Blueprint for All – formerly known as the Steven Lawrence Charitable Trust.
Mnemosyne is Ms Siddick's fifth show since launching last year and brings together 14 of the UK's emerging artists.
They include Nour Saleh, a Lebanese UK-based artist who grew up in the UAE, and whose dream-like works explore alternate worlds where gender roles are blurred.
“My work delves into the difficult subject matter of ‘ugliness,’ a term I use loosely," Ms Saleh said.
"I aim to challenge the typically defined gender roles and features in my art."
Ms Saleh, 23, studied fine art at University College London Slade School of Fine Art.
She says she is happy to be using her art to raise awareness and funds for an under-reported issue.
"Domestic abuse is not spoken about enough in the Middle East, so if I am able to help stimulate this conversation wherever possible, I think it is important that I do so," Ms Saleh said.
Besides philanthropy, Ms Siddick says the purpose of Purslane is to give a more equitable proportion of sales to the artists.
"There's something about the sort of traditional art world that I find quite repulsive," Ms Siddick said.
"That's quite a strong word. But I guess it's just to me that those institutions are making a lot of money, but not many people are benefitting from it.”
Ms Siddick says artists make at least 50 per cent of the proceeds from sales on Purslane – compared to the 20 to 40 percentage that many traditional galleries give.
Most of the artists she exhibits are early in their careers and prices for pieces on the platform start from £100 ($138).
“It's a case of providing an opportunity for emerging artists who might not otherwise get represented or have their works shown in a gallery,” Ms Siddick said.
"It's that dual angle of trying to raise money, but also ensuring that the artists I work with are making enough money from it as well."