Originally from South Africa, Leigh Sanders has spent the past 14 years on the idyllic Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain with her husband. She became vegan nearly two years ago following a period of time as a vegetarian and a series of serendipitous events. She became vegan for the animals and in July this year she switched to a raw vegan lifestyle which has improved her health in ways she'd only ever dreamed of.
The Art of Compassion Project
The Art of Compassion Project started off as an idea Leigh had had for a vegan art book. After the charity Veganuary helped her switch to veganism, she was so impressed by the support Veganuary gives people wanting to go vegan (or at the very least try vegan for the month of January) that she decided she wanted to raise funds for them.
“I have a physical disability which forced me to find a way to become an activist from my desk. I love art, so I started thinking about combining art and veganism. One thing led to another and the idea for the book was born. There was such an incredibly overwhelming response that the initial idea just grew and has become The Art of Compassion Project. It's my aim to raise money for at least one different vegan non-profit each year. This year we have focussed on Veganuary through various projects”.
The Art of Compassion Project’s logo was designed by Argentinian artist Francisco Atencio and symbolises their mission, which is to promote equality and compassion for all animals.
As part of this year’s activities, Leigh organised a crowdfunding campaign with the aim of creating awareness for the artists involved. The perks included postcards, Giclèe prints, stickers and Veganuary wristbands. The campaign managed to raise £575 for Veganuary. An online art auction was also held, which raised a total of £214.80. A 2016 vegan art calendar will be available to purchase on the website, and the art book is due for release in April 2016 and will be on sale internationally on Amazon. All profits from the sale of the book will go directly to Veganuary.
In order to find the artists and be able to create the book, Leigh initially contacted vegan artists through a Google search. She was then introduced to others through the artists she'd contacted and it snowballed from there. The artwork includes sketches, paintings in acrylic, oils, watercolours, collage, pastel work, pencil drawings, photography, digital art, installation art, soft sculpture, and fabric painting from 100 artists spread all across the world and over every continent, many of whom are keen to participate in future Art of Compassion projects.
“It's my hope that a person will be able to pick up the art book, leaf through the 200 images and be touched by at least one, if not more of them and to then really reflect on the message behind the image and question their personal choices; whether to eat meat, consume dairy, wear fur, take their children to zoos, buy products that have been tested on animals.
“I believe art is powerful in its gentleness. It presents -itself honestly and openly, allowing the viewer to take as much or as little as they are ready for from it.”
The Art of Compassion Project has also been approached by Veggie World Paris to participate in their expo in April next year. There will be more details on that on the website as the time draws nearer. Leigh also has a couple of other ideas in the pipeline, including a project aimed at children and of course their yearly vegan art calendar and online art auction.
Leigh is always on the lookout for any vegan involved in the arts; visual, music, writers, jewellery designers, fashion designers, photographers, poets, etc., to join the project. Volunteers with a passion for veganism are also most welcome to get in touch with Leigh via email.
Support the Barefoot Vegan Animal Sanctuary by purchasing the 2017 Art of Compassion Project calendar