The Art of Wishmaking with Batia Ofer
Inspired by children’s magical and life-changing wishes, this unique exhibition and auction of artworks was masterminded by Batia Ofer, Patron of Make-A-Wish® UK. The auction lots have been commissioned and donated by leading and upcoming contemporary artists, with bidding now open on Artsy. We recently spoke to Batia about her passion for art and Make-A-Wish®.
Artsy: Can you start by giving us a bit of background on the how you came to be involved with Make-A-Wish and what aspects of the organization’s mission are particularly meaningful to you?
Batia Ofer: I first came across Make-A-Wish nine years ago when I attended an event to benefit the foundation. It was completely transformative and I was so moved by each and every child’s unique story. Hearing the impact that these wishes had on their lives, and the happiness and optimism that they create, compelled me to do something. My husband and I were to be married shortly after, so we decided that our wedding gifts should go to the charity. Soon after this, the founder of the branch in Israel – where we were living at the time – asked me if I would get more involved and I've been dedicated to the foundation ever since. Seeing the face of a desperately sick child light up when their dream comes true is a truly priceless moment and I feel privileged to be part of such an amazing foundation.
A: Tell us about how you conceived of the inspired idea to commission leading and emerging artists to respond to children’s wishes?
BO: There are a lot of fundraising events in London – all of them for excellent causes – and I wanted to create something unique. I felt that the most natural thing I could do was bring both the worlds I'm passionate about together. I have been lucky enough to see how these kid’s stories can touch people, and thought having their stories displayed as art would be very powerful. I was already involved with Frieze, where you’re sure to find the best of both established and emerging artists, so it seemed appropriate to have the same mixture for an event opening Frieze week in London.
A: You’re an art-lover and collector—what tips do you have for new collectors?
BO: My tips for new collectors are to see as many exhibitions as possible in order to gain a better understanding of what they like and what they don’t, and to get to know people they trust in the art world. However, ultimately they should always make decisions themselves. I would also advise that they only buy pieces they love, rather than following trends. I think it’s okay to want to part with certain works after a few years. Our tastes evolve over time – and in addition to that we all make mistakes sometimes! Don’t be afraid of making them as it’s just part of the process.
A: What are some of the works that particularly stand out to you in the art auction? What about the work, the artist, or the child’s wish especially grabs your attention?
BO: All the works are truly spectacular and I’m deeply touched by the time and effort that each and every artist dedicated to this project. The one that really grabbed my attention was Tracey Emin’s, because she produced three works based on Grace’s wish “to go on holiday with her pony”. Looking at them, you really get a sense of movement and feel immersed in the story of the wish itself.
A: Of the more emerging artists featured in the auction who collectors may not be familiar with yet, can you describe a few works that stand out?
BO: I think all the works are amazing and I would love to own every single one in the exhibition. From the more emerging artists, Joshua Raz’s work based on Oakley’s wish “to see the northern lights” is quite breathtaking. Victoria Morton is more established but I think her work is extraordinary and she’s definitely someone to look out for.
A: You mentioned The Art of Wishes event kicks off a busy art week in London. Are there particular events, exhibitions, or programs to which you’re looking forward?
BO: I’m definitely looking forward to Frieze and Frieze Masters which is getting better every year, as well as the Jasper Johns at The Royal Academy and the Basquiat at the Barbican.
Funds raised by the sale of these works will enable Make-A-Wish to grant magical wishes to enrich the lives of children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. The Art of Wishes event is sponsored by Cartier and will be held at The Dorchester Hotel in London on Monday 2nd October with a preview event taking place at the Serpentine Gallery on Sunday, October 1st, 2:00-6:00PM BST. If you would like to attend the preview, please contact an Artsy Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.