Carpet-lovers gathered at Lotto Carpet Gallery at Dempsey Hill in January for a good cause. Housing many intricate and masterfully woven pieces of art, the gallery unveiled a total of 22 different carpets for a charity auction, some of which date back to the 19th century. The walls of the dining hall were literally carpeted with the different elegant carpets, all up for bidding.
While the event catered to an uppercrust crowd, the organizer and Lotto’s owner, Abid Mir, held the event with one thought in mind: to help those less fortunate than himself. Titled “Light Up A Life”, the event broke new grounds as the first ever carpet charity auction where 50 percent of the proceeds was donated to the Down Syndrome Association (Singapore).
Guests were treated to a sumptuous dinner buffet from Vintage India, and thereafter, a variety of spectacular performances by the talents of DSA. Children and teenagers with Down Syndrome took up their maracas, djembes and handbells and made music to the beat of “Nature’s Heartbeat”, a story of the suffering faced by plants and animals in a drought. The audience clapped and cheered loudly, showing their support for the performers.
Imran Abid Mir, the eldest son of Mir, gave valuable insight about the carpets and shared with the guests the history, quality and origins of the enchanting pieces. Many of the pieces bore unique tribal or metropolitan designs made from superior wool or silk. This was highly appealing to the bidders. Anticipation and excitement buzzed in the air as a round of live auction began. Shouts rang across the rooms as the 80 bidders competed for each elegant work of art.
|PHOTO: Down Syndrome Association|
In between the auction rounds, there was rousing entertainment. Dancers took the stage, swaying to “Jai Ho”, the Oscarnominated song from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. The dancers consisted of talents with Down Syndrome, as well as their siblings and volunteers. The audience was thoroughly enthralled by the performance, a showcase of the triumph and celebration of the human spirit.
With a final live auction before the night closed, Mir graciously treated everyone to one of his favorite wines during a time of wine appreciation. As the auction gavel sounded triumphantly to the delight of the last successful bidder, the event finally came to an end.
A total of S$100,000 was raised that night, with half of the proceeds going to DSA. Certainly the carpets might have sold for a lot more, but Mir’s generosity made a difference to the organization.
One bidder, who only wanted to be identified as Christopher, remarked, “Congratulations! I never thought anyone would be able to collect such exquisite pieces at such prices. I am very proud of Mr. Mir and his generosity! He is the biggest donor.”