Art Represent

Art Represent : Dedicated to empowering artists affected by conflict worldwide

London, United Kingdom
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Art Represent is a platform that empowers artists affected by conflict to reach an international audience, and build a sustainable career.
We do this by selling and marketing artists' works, providing resources and knowledge, and funding physical exhibitions.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if artists became ambassadors for change and peaceful communication by breaking down geographical, political, and language barriers
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In areas/communities affected conflict, oppression, and social upheaval, artists lack the infrastructure to have a sustainable career both economically and creatively. They may be forced to give up their artistic endeavours due to financial issues, political targeting or displacement. Moreover, it can be hard for these artists to establish themselves on the international art scene as they are often pigeonholed by their background.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We want to build a comprehensive infrastructure for our artists where we can provide them with the necessary resources to have a sustainable and successful career. 1. Revenue generation: we sell and represent their work through our digital platform as well as third party channels 2. Marketing resources: tools and support on how to create a website, set up social media accounts, content creation, translation etc 3. Creative project commission: we commission creative projects and exhibitions with our artists to realise their vision.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

1. Our revenue channel has been generating sales that goes directly to the artist to continue creating work and sustaining a livelihood. 2. A lot of our artists are seen as actors for change or ambassadors for their communities, and by having social media accounts and web-based presence, they have garnered a lot of followers both domestically and internationally. Artists who come from very different pockets of the world are also discovering each other through Art Represent 3. Our exhibitions have helped to put artists like Malina Suliman, and Imran Faour on the map through coverage by international media channels including CNN, Channel 4, The New York Times, and BBC.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have been now a network of over 100 artists, and 50 of these artists have been signed to the platform. We have sold artworks to collectors from across Europe, US and Latin America. We have established partnerships with various organisations to provide resources for our artists as well as co-working to empower artists in marginalised communities in general. We have successfully staged the first ever UK exhibitions for artists Malina Suliman (Afghanistan) and Imran Faour (Syria). We've also hosted numerous cultural events and talks on issues that concern artists affected by conflict. These events have been key in garnering interest and support. Art Represent will continue the work we started and it will become the largest digital platform for artists affected by conflict and social upheaval. Next year, Art Represent will be staging exhibitions in New York, Tibet and London.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The main strategies for moving forward is by working with a CTO on building a tech platform that on the one hand innovates the way people interact with art online. On the other hand, to create a portal for artists where they can access a range of resources on everything from legal guidelines to singing contracts, obtaining visas, and practical tutorials on shipping art, creating websites, and marketing tools. To continue building our network of artists and create a board of advisors and ambassadors who can help our development. Aggressively expand our network of partnerships.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We will be generating revenue from artworks sold online and offline. We are also fundraising from investors and sponsors who can give us an injection of capital to build our tech platform and grow our current network of artists, collectors, and partnerships.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are other organisations like Artraker, or Culture and Conflict who work in the same space of conflict art. However they are non-profit organisations or charities who are reliant on donations and grants and cannot give direct and immediate financial support for artists. Because Art Represent is a platform that creates impact through optimising processes and utilising partnership resources, we are the only sustainable revenue channel for artists affected by conflict. We have also become a revenue channel for other organisations who are providing support for artists in conflict areas.

Founding Story

I have always been really passionate about art and I myself am from a region affected by conflict - Tibet. Moving to London really gave me a platform to develop myself and have access to resources that I otherwise wouldn't have. This life experience gave me the drive to provide the same opportunity for others who don't have the stage to express themselves or have their voices heard. Growing up, I began to discover amazing works of art from Tibetan artists. But many of them couldn't get their artworks to an reach an international audience. I soon realised that this was not a Tibet specific problem, so in late 2014, I started to conceptualise the idea for Art Represent.


Baiqu Gonkar - Founder and CEO. Graduated with a degree in Politics and International Relations. With 4 years of experience in contemporary art and business development in both China and the UK. She currently works as the head of Business Development for 1Pass - a tech startup in London. Bianca Gidwani - Co-founder and COO. Baiqu and Bianca met at the United World College of the Atlantic at the age of 16 and reconnected in 2015. Bianca also has 4 years of experience in contemporary art and is currently the head of Communications and Development at the Saatchi Gallery. Juliet Den Oudendammer - Head of Artist Liaison. Juliet graduated with a degree in Art and Business from the Sotheby's institute and has a passion for discovering amazing talents and promoting fair representation in the art market.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

I heard about it from my friend at BMW and was put in touch with Arianna De Mario from Ashoka.

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder of Art Represent

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I am currently the head of Business Development for 1Pass - a tech firm in London that specialises in micro-payments for publishers.

I previously set up The Sweet Tea House with artists from Tibet. The project was a commercial company that would incorporate chinaware with artists prints to be sold as popular homeware.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Partners: School of Doodle, Artraker, Lensational, Migreat, Migrant Voice, Janet Rady Fine Arts

Advisor: Koda Wang - COO of Huffington Post