Looking Back, Looking Forward.
2015 was a year of so many firsts for Art Represent, and what a year it's been.
It was only in December 2014 that I had the idea to create a designated platform for artists affected by conflict and social upheaval, a decision influenced greatly by my interactions with some fantastic artists from my homeland, Tibet. By January 2015, we began devising a sustainable, ethical business model that would offer artists the fair arrangement they deserve, without limiting Art Represent's impact.
Since then, progress has been huge. We hosted our very first exhibition in May, putting the spotlight on a series of works by Afghan artist Malina Suliman. The show was well-received both on site and in the press, highlighting to us that there is a demand and a sense of appreciation for the work we're doing. It was an important stepping stone for our platform, as we hope the show will prove for Malina, whose talent truly speaks for itself.
As we enter the new year, we are incredibly proud of the 30 or so artists already on our books, each with their own unique experiences and skills. We have hundreds more on our database, and the pool of talent is growing as we continue to negotiate new contracts week by week, though too, we are constantly reminded of the unfortunate fact that there is seemingly no shortage of artists affected by the forces of conflict and social upheaval.
Thus far, we've also had the privilege of developing partnerships with some fantastic organizations, and perhaps most notably played host to a collaborative exhibition with Lensational: a fantastic social enterprise committed to using photography as a means of empowering women in developing countries both economically and emotionally. We're set to build upon our partnerships in 2016, and we look forward to engaging with more fantastic causes and those behind them. Equally, we are indebted to our invaluable sponsors and advisers for whom we are so grateful.
Another key development we have overseen this year has been our renewed sense of focus on the collectors of our amazing artworks. Whilst our business model intends to provide a holistic support network to our artists and allows them to develop sustainable careers, our pay-in-instalments scheme and unlimited edition merchandise are key initiatives which aim to illicit broader, democratic art ownership.
By November, we were delighted to be able to host a timely show of harrowing prints by Syrian graphic artist Imranovi, who fled his homeland to safety following the outbreak of conflict. In tandem with a parallel screening of street artist JR's short movie Ellis, we attempted to underline the apparent disparity between the reception of different waves of migrants throughout history. Whilst we were sorry the artist could not make it to London to view his show, as with the earlier example of Malina Suliman, we hope the exhibition has served as an effective platform for Imranovi's important message to be heard.
However, perhaps some of the most fundamental changes at Art Represent in 2015 have been in the ever-changing makeup of our dedicated team. An array of passionate people have come and gone, and it is at this point that I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those involved in laying a solid foundation for our platform.
What 2016 has in store for us remains to be seen, though with some exciting new projects and partnerships in the pipeline, I have every reason to be optimistic. The support we've received until now has been fantastic, and we hope it will continue for many years to come.