Artists flock to Slovenia for a humanitarian event to help Darfur

Artists from more than two dozen countries gathered for the 15th international art meeting Poaart for Peace 2006 meeting. The artists contribute their pieces to an auction, whose proceeds this year were destined for Sudan, and specifically its devastated Darfur region.

The meeting took place on the slopes of the Pohorje mountain, just outside Slovenia's second-largest city, Maribor. We spoke to some of the artists to see how they felt and how they were doing.

Roussel Frederic, Belgium: "The contacts between people are very good and it's a good thing to work with. Here I meet people I would never have met in another context, you know."

Ewa Zawadzka, Poland: "I like Maribor, I like this nature, I like these high mountains, and this atmosphere, meeting and speaking with different people from different countries."

Elisabeth Olivier, Austria: "Yes, it's my first time, I was invited to come here. A friend of mine recommended me, and I came here on very short notice, but I cam and I'm very happy to be here. I think it's a great idea and I should like to tell people in Austria and find people to help me and organize such a meeting in Austria."

The event organizer for Slovenia, Blaz Blatnik, explained that that the event began in 1991, one month after the Slovenian war. At that time, painters travelled to Pohorje and established the site of meeting as well as the spirit of peace and art for humanitarian goals. Mr. Blatnik:

"All these pictures which stay in Slovenia first of all are put to the collection of POAART and the rest is put to the humanitarian organization."

Slovenia's president, Janez Drnovsek, thanked the artists in advance for their help to a cause he has been actively promoting: humanitarian relief for Darfur.