Jackson’s is delighted to support the TLC Deck of Cards Fundraising Art Auction for Transplant Links Charity (TLC) featuring artworks by Grayson Perry, Richard E. Grant and Dame Floella Benjamin in aid of this exceptional cause.
Above: Queen of Diamonds, 2022, George Underwood, Oil on linen, 50.4 x 65.5 cm
What is the Transplant Links Charity?
Words by Jennie Jewitt-Harris
Transplant Links Community (TLC) is a UK registered charity that provides hands on training and mentoring in kidney transplantation for healthcare professionals in low and middle income countries. TLC originally started in 2007 as a grassroots community comprised of a small group of healthcare professionals who used their annual leave to travel to share their skills with colleagues in LMICs. It is now an international organisation with a medical faculty of over 50 volunteer clinicians working collaboratively with a network of emerging transplant units all over the world. The aim is to assist in the development of sustainable, ethical living-donor transplant units so that more patients around the world can have access to this life saving treatment.
The TLC Deck of Cards Fundraising Project
The Deck of Cards is organised by mother and daughter team, Jennie and Aimee Jewitt-Harris, who have run TLC since it first started back in 2007. As well as travelling the world to help patients with kidney failure, they are both keen artists and include an artwork of their own each year. Aimee’s idea for the Deck of Cards really started something exciting with artists from all backgrounds and stages in their careers contributing. Aimee says “It’s great to have a forum that includes artists who are well known, amongst less well-known artists whose work we love. The final collection each year has blown us away with its colour, diversity and sense of fun. We’re amazed with how each artist interprets their cards differently. The end result is not only a mini art exhibition but also a deck of playing cards!”
The cards together make Volume 3 of the TLC Decks of Cards, which will soon join Volumes 1 and 2 available now at jacksonsart.com. Proceeds from all three volumes of the will go to Transplant Links Charity.
So, Why a Deck of Cards?
In 2007 TLC founder Jennie Jewitt-Harris heard a lecture by Professor Randy Pausch, who was invited to speak at Carnegie Mellon University, and treat it as if it were to be his last lecture. He revealed that he had pancreatic cancer, so the lecture really would be his last. He was inspirational when talking about enabling the dreams of others, saying, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”.
Patients with kidney failure have been dealt a tough hand, but the Deck of Cards gives them the chance to re-shuffle and deal them again in hope of a better chance through a transplantation. This is the inspiration for our Deck of Cards auction. Artists are helping us to enable the dreams of others and deal them a better hand, by literally designing a new deck.
Transplant Links Charity Deck of Cards Auction
The TLC Deck of Cards is a collaboration between upcoming and well-known artists, as well as public figures who have been commissioned by TLC’s Patron Dame Floella Benjamin, to each design a playing card from a deck of cards. The sale of the original artworks, decks of cards and posters help to fund the life saving work of TLC in Africa and the Caribbean.
“I am so proud to be Patron of Transplant Links Charity because their work actually saves lives and through their teaching and transferring skills they will help many more patients in the future. I had the privilege of travelling with the Transplant Links team to the Caribbean and watched a kidney transplant operation take place. It was one of the most miraculous experiences of my life! I saw how it immediately transformed the life of the patient who had kidney failure.
This is why I was delighted to create my Heart of Gold artwork for the Deck of Cards charity auction. It is a tribute to the work of the Transplant Links’ medical volunteers and supporters whose hearts of gold have generosity help to save and transform lives, especially children’s, throughout the world.”
“I’d like to encourage everyone to show their love too, and go online and buy the cards so that we can all help more children and their families to have their lives back again through the precious gift of a kidney transplant. What better Christmas present could there be!”
Contributing Artists to the TLC Deck of Cards
The amazing artwork of the King of Hearts has been donated to the auction by Grayson Perry CBE RA, winner of the Turner Prize and presenter of a variety of TV programmes including Grayson’s Art Club. The CEO of TLC, Aimee Jewitt-Harris, tells us “Grayson has very kindly supported the TLC Deck of Cards project since it started, so his artworks appear in all three volumes. We are delighted to include his latest very topical artwork of the King of Hearts”
Richard E. Grant, star of stage and screen, created the Two of Hearts.
Michael Foreman OBE, children’s book author and illustrator, has painted the Queen of Hearts for the auction. Michael is well known for his tender and expressive illustrations of children’s books, and for receiving the Hans Christian Andersen Award for his work. We know that many people will recognise the well known Corgi dog in his design for the Queen of Hearts, a fitting tribute given the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
This year the ambassador for the Deck of Cards is artist Anthony Frost, who has supported the project from its inception. He always chooses the Ten of Diamonds for his vibrant colourful artwork for a very special reason. Back in 1979 he created the Ten of Diamonds alongside his Dad, Sir Terry Frost RA, who chose the Nine of Spades for a privately commissioned deck. Anthony is well known for his strong abstract artworks, rich in thick colour, and often incorporating sailcloth, hessian or rope, sourced from around him at his home in Cornwall. His work is widely collected and exhibited, including exhibitions at the Tate in St Ives and with the Newlyn group.
The designer of this years nativity images in the Royal Mail Christmas Stamps, Katie Ponder, has designed the Three of Spades for the deck.
Bridget Moore Sen RBA NEAC RWS has contributed to every volume of the TLC Deck of Cards. She tells us that “Initially it had not occurred to me that in some countries there weren’t the skills to enable someone to get a kidney transplant. By donating a piece of work that goes towards raising funds to allow training and support for this I’m really glad to know I’ve had a small hand in helping.”
Bridget told us about how she approaches creating her artwork for the Deck of Cards: “Fortunately the subject matter that I am interested in lends itself quite well to a playing card. After a bit of cogitating the idea of a couple of little performers struck me as a do-able design for the Two of Diamonds. It always does take a few attempts before settling on something that works while incorporating the number of diamonds into the painting so that it reads coherently can be a slight challenge”.
George Underwood, well known for his artworks on album covers for David Bowie and T Rex, has painted the Queen of Diamonds. George told us that when he was approached to participate in the TLC Deck of Cards “I thought, yes. I want to do that. Also, I am a fan of the charity”
When asked what steps he took to decide what to paint, he said “My approach to the artwork was simple really… I just wanted to paint an image which would work as a playing card and stand up on its own as an interesting piece of work – not dissimilar to the types of paintings I normally do. The picture cards appealed to me because I like to invent characters”
Lizzie Riches has been a supporter of Transplant Links Charity for a long time, and for this volume, she created the Three of Hearts. Lizzie tells us her inspiration for taking part “I lost a dear friend to kidney failure some years ago. He was a wonderful human being and a great loss to the world so when I came across TLC it felt natural to participate. I originally chose the two of hearts but it became unavailable, so I tried to think of an image for the three instead. The heart is a potent symbol so I dreamed up a set of heart shaped jewels for someone to wear. I have never been so busy as I am now. I think people turn to art in difficult times as a kind of consolation and I am very happy that my work seems to bring joy to some who need that.”
Watercolour artist Susie Lidstone wanted to create an artwork that connected to her own problems with kidney failure “Thinking of creating something that had a strong bond with the TLC Founder, Jennie, as well with my own kidney failure, and also my father’s, made me want to try and create something.”
When asked about how she approached the artwork she told us “My artwork is the Jack of Spades created using watercolour and acrylic. I wanted to try and convey the shapes of plants and flowers and the connection that all life has whether its creation is from mother nature or human. My painting shows plants growing with the interweaving of stems that twist together forming a bond that is difficult to separate unless disease fractures them. Flowers have so much in common with the shape of the kidneys and the amazing structures within each that has a lyrical connection but can be broken so easily which is why the work of TLC is so vital. As we plant and see our labours flourish we need to cherish all life we are all precious.”
The Founder of TLC, Dr Jennie Jewitt-Harris and her daughter and TLC CEO Aimee Jewitt-Harris, are both keen artists in their spare time. The Deck of Cards was an idea that Aimee had wanted to pursue for many years, and saw it as a great opportunity to combine with fundraising for the work of TLC.
Aimee said “This King of Clubs began as an exploration into the history of NYC Club Kids – artists and drag queens who were known for their flamboyant behaviour and outrageous costumes. I was also inspired by the headdresses used in Venetian carnivals, and modern Drag Queens who smash together outrageously beautiful and feminine clothing pieces with hyper masculine beards and muscles. This, together with my love for natural history and my interest in plants and wildlife, has resulted in a King who is strong, fierce, flamboyant and beautiful, the kind of king I’d like to know.”
“For Jennie and I, our choices of card depends on which cards haven’t already been taken! This year we realised at the last minute that we only had one Joker, so Jennie ended up doing two artworks”
Jennie commented “my work is very much inspired by historical women with a story to tell. The Jack of Clubs is the cross-dressing cabaret performer Vesta Tilley, and the Joker is inspired by early 20th century ballet dancers. I often transform inspirational historical women into butterflies in the spirit of Mexican folklore that butterflies carry the souls of the deceased.”
Jennie added “We are so grateful to Floella and all the artists for their generosity and incredible creativity in producing the artworks for the auction, that will then become Volume 3 of the TLC Deck of Cards. The variety of interpretation of the theme is extraordinary, and creates a unique gorgeous mini exhibition in a box!”
Buy the TLC Deck of Cards on jacksonsart.com – All the proceeds will go to Transplant Links Charity.