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Famous artists unite to raise funds for artists with disabilities

Works from some of this country's best-loved artists are being auctioned off for charity, raising funds for artists with disabilities.

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She has a very special connection to one of them, Seven Sharp found out. Source: Seven Sharp

Making it happen is Dame Denise L'Estrange-Corbet, founder of fashion label WORLD, and she has a very special connection to one of the artists.

"Jojo came to work at WORLD eight years ago after hitting me up at the IHC Art Awards and asking me if I had a job for her," Dame Denise told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

But artists like Jojo have had a tough year. Their art classes were cancelled due to lockdown and the art auction they'd planned was cancelled too. 

"It's such a big part of their year... and I knew they weren't going to have an awards night because of Covid," Dame Denise says.

So the fashion designer pulled some strings.

"I thought, 'I know what I'm going to do, I'll approach well-known New Zealand artists and ask them if they would help my little idea of artists for artists,'" she says.

"And they all said yes."

Among them was Paul Hartigan.

"I've discovered this funny thing about myself that my reaction to things is often, 'No, I can't do this,'" he says.

"And then as soon as I say no, I go, 'Yes, I can. I'm gonna do this, why am I saying no, I'm totally capable.'" 

He's donating Canary Canopy from his luscious PowerFlower series, created from Polaroids taken in the 1980s.

"I figured out a way of interrupting the mechanism to take a series of images and then release the film," Hartigan says.

"Every photo was like a Christmas present, you didn't know what you were going to get." 

Otis Frizzell and Mike Weston are donating a Prime Ministerial piece.

"It's got political weight and historical significance now, and the whole image has become this thing, perfect timing and perfect image... And it's got heart."

They're joined by Max Gimblett, Billy Apple, Dick Frizzell and more, all coming together for charity.

The auction is at Webbs on Monday night; the auction house has waived all fees. 

"I was so blown away," Dame Denise says.

"Because they're all big names, all well-known artists who've been doing it their whole lives."

Every dollar will go to the IHC Art Awards.