SINGAPORE (June 12): Asterix creator leaves drawings to hospitals

Four original drawings by the creator of Asterix the Gaul sold for nearly EUR400,000 ($633,704) to benefit Paris hospitals. Albert Uderzo, who invented the plucky hero who gleefully took on Roman legions, died from Covid-19 related heart failure in March at the age of 92.

His widow Ada said the charity auction was a way of thanking “our new heroes who have resisted the invader,” a reference to the virus that has killed more than 28,000 people in France.

The four original cartoons sold for EUR390,000, the auction house Artcurial told AFP. Uderzo co-created Asterix with scriptwriter Rene Goscinny and kept the epic going after his friend’s untimely death in 1977. He went on to create an entire gallery of characters beloved of children and adults across the world.

The drawings — which included images from the relatively recent adventures Asterix and the Secret Weapon and Asterix and Obelix All At Sea — were donated to the Paris hospitals trust by the artist’s widow and daughter.

Ada Uderzo and her daughter Sylvie wanted “to join with the whole nation in paying tribute to French hospital staff” for their work during the pandemic, the auction house said.

More than 380 million Asterix books have been sold worldwide. The series has been translated into 111 languages and films, television series, video games and a French theme park have been dedicated to the comic and its characters.

Ai Weiwei designs for relief efforts

The Chinese artist has designed an assortment of face masks, whose sales will raise funds for various humanitarian and emergency relief efforts around the Covid-19 pandemic.

The masks depict several motifs that are familiar to fans of Ai’s oeuvre, such as the sunflower seeds featured in his 2010 installation at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and the defiant middle finger that appeared in his 2004 Study of Perspective series.

Additional designs include a surveillance camera, handcuffs and creatures from ancient Chinese mythology, all of which have been silk-screened by hand onto non-surgical cloth masks in Ai’s Berlin studio.

The series of face coverings are on sale until June 27 on eBay’s giving platform, eBay for Charity. Prices range from $50 for a single mask, $300 for a thematic set of four $1,500 for an assortment of 20.

All proceeds will equally benefit Human Rights Watch, Refugees International and Doctors Without Borders. Ai said some $506,000 have been raised so far. In a statement, he added: “Our small individual act becomes powerful when they are part of the social response.

An individual wearing a mask makes a gesture; a society wearing masks combats a deadly virus. And a society that wears masks because of the choices of individuals, rather than because of the directive of authorities, can defy and withstand any force. No will is too small and no act too helpless.”

Safety first

Polaroid eyewear specialists have used their skills to make personal protective equipment (PPE) through its Stay Safe collection. Polaroid launches the Stay Safe 1 which is the professional protective eyewear by Polaroid designed for eye protection. Stay Safe 2 is the first face shield by Polaroid that not only protects the eyes but the whole face. These face shields are produced at Safilo Group’s Italian manufacturing facilities in Venice’s Santa Maria di Sala and Berhgamo’s Brembate di Sopra.

So far, 10,000 glasses and shields have already been donated to hospitals in the hardest hit areas, in order to support health care workers at the forefront of the pandemic.

If you are keen to support Polaroid’s aim to help healthcare workers, order your PPE at www.polaroideyewear. com.sg (delivery in Singapore only). These products are also available at selected retailers like W Optics, Jamco Optical, Clarity Eyecare, The Lens Men (Parkway Parade), My Eyeroom, Eyecare Studio, Eyecare 24/7 (Punggol), The Sunglass Shop, Kwong Shin, Pearl’s Optical (at People’s Park, Kovan and Tampines).

Saluting heroes

Travel and tourism have been the hardest hit by this pandemic. Despite this, the team at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort — a five-star accommodation in the Tho Quang area of Da Nang, Vietnam — are doing their part to show their gratitude to healthcare workers.

The resort will extend a very special offer to all healthcare workers treating Covid-19 patients as well as any flight crews that operated flights to repatriate overseas Vietnamese citizens back home during this pandemic through a Healthcare Heroes package. The healthcare workers will be given top notch and personalised service during their stay at the resort. They will also get a chance to sample culinary delights at the award winning La Maison 1888 while being treated to spa treatments.

Package starts at US$300++ ($419++) inclusive of breakfast and family style lunch at Citron or Barefoot restaurant. This offer is available from now until the end of the year (terms and conditions apply). To book, call +84 236 393 8888 or email [email protected] and ask for the Healthcare Heroes offer.  

Charity auction

Chefs and bartenders come together to show off their artistic side, all for a good cause. In support of The Food Bank Singapore, the city’s best mixologists and chefs have teamed up with Perrier to present #LockdownArtists Charity Auction, featuring their original artworks created during the two-month circuit breaker, to be sold in a silent auction aimed at raising $10,000 for The Food Bank Singapore.

Food celebrities doing their part for charity include Janice Wong (chef and owner of 2am:dessertbar), Jorge Conde (head bartender at Smoke & Mirrors), Juan Yijun and Jessica Hutchinson (co-owners of No Sleep Club), Naz Arjuna (head bartender at Bitters & Love), Petrina Loh (chef and owner of Morsels), Phoebe Oviedo (Open Farm Community sous chef), Oliver Truesdale-Jutras (Open Farm Community head chef) and Rishi Naleendra (chef and owner of Cloudstreet, whose work is pictured below).

On June 20 at 4pm, radio jock Maddy Barber will host an hour long online event at www.Facebook.com/PerrierSg to speak where she will speak to the personalities involved. Biddings will open after and close at 11.59pm on June 28. The first 25 bidders will receive a complimentary Perrier mocktail — specially created by celebrated cocktail bar Jigger & Pony — which will be delivered to their homes. The #LockdownArtists Charity Auction is presented by Perrier and supported by Nestlé’s #AlwaysOpenForYou initiative, which aims to provide solidarity aid to business partners and communities. 

A world redrawn: The rich must ‘share’, says agnès b.

French fashion designer agnès b. (real name born Agnès Andrée Marguerite Troublé) has always been an optimist. It is what prompted her some 50 years ago to quit the world of fashion journalism and step onto the lowest rung of the design ladder.

She started the brand in 1975, opening her first boutique in Paris. Soon, other outlets in New York, London, Amsterdam, Taipei, Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong followed.

Now 78 and still optimistic, she believes that a better world — driven by young people — will emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

Recently, she spoke to AFP calling for the rich to “share” and insists we must not forget the urgency of looking out for the environment. Below are extracts from the interview, edited for clarity.

Q: We talk about ‘a world before’ and ‘a world after’. Will habits change or will the world just go back to how it was before?

A: I have a positive and optimistic nature and I hope that this kind of step back will have changed perspectives. The question of how we share our land relies on our young people. They have real awareness which is great. Everything links. When the farmers called for help, the city people answered. There are young people who are going to settle on farms... There is going to be a fresh start. We will come out different.

Q: You place great faith in young people and their take on the environment. Why?

A: Young people are aware of the environment and know that it is more and more important. I have a lot of grandchildren and I see how concerned they are. We have to transform ourselves.

Q: France’s economy is clearly taking a hit from the virus and quarantine measures. What does President Emmanuel Macron need to do to give some hope back to the French people?

A: I wouldn’t like to be in the president’s shoes at the moment. In France, we are programmed to criticise. The most important thing is to bring money into France, and the rich must share the wealth. There are many poor people and many wealthy people who have too much money. I know what it means to be poor. Wealth is so badly distributed. There are people who are badly housed or homeless. The differences have always existed. We had the French Revolution but that didn’t change anything.

Q: What help can we give to developing countries as the world economy struggles to find its feet again?

A: We must manufacture where it is necessary, where we can help. My line manufactures as much as possible in France but we have a policy of giving added value to countries like Peru — which produces alpaca — or Mongolia with its cashmere. There are also embroiderers in Madagascar. This is always my principle.

Q: Have you been making masks during the lockdown?

A: We have already made lots of masks. I designed them in unbleached, patterned canvas, with lipstick smiles in different colours. We also made 2,000 medical gowns to donate to suburban hospitals.