Le Yacht Club – Beirut hosted this Sunday evening an auction of a Harley Davidson redesigned by the creative touch of Lebanon’s world-renowned fashion designer Elie Saab. Sold for $80,000, this motorcycle was added to several motorcycle helmets turned into artistic masterpieces by several artists and designers and reaching, for some, a selling price of $15,000. The proceeds of this auction, entitled “Art Saves Lives”, will help raise funds for many of the rescue training programs Roads for Life (RFL) is providing to EMS teams, physicians and nurses in order to acquire the latest rescue techniques benefiting trauma patients during the “golden hour” following an accident.
This auction, organized on the occasion of World Remembrance Day, was held in the presence of: former PM Tammam Salam and his wife Lama; former First Lady Mona Hraoui; former Minister Adnan Kassar; Mrs. Nora Jumblatt and Mrs. Zalfa Boueiz; ISF Traffic Branch Chief Colonel Gérard Nasr, representing ISF Director General Major General Imad Osman; Head of the delegation of the European Union Ambassador Christina Lassen ; WHO representative Dr. Iman Al-Shanqiti; Lebanese Red Cross President Dr. Antoine Zoghbi; in addition to several key figures, members of the diplomatic corps, and friends.
The creations of Elie Saab and the contributing artists expressed their respective perspectives of the lethal traffic phenomenon and highlighted the efforts made by RFL to boost the victims’ chances of survival.
During the auction, which he attended, Saab explained that the aim of the motorcycle he redesigned and dubbed “Tribute to Life” was to shed light on the dangers of the road for drivers and pedestrians alike, to pay tribute to RFL’s work in terms of saving human lives, and to laud its efforts with regard to promoting rescue abilities among first aid teams, physicians and surgeons. Saab chose gold as a color alluding to the “golden hour”, which directly follows a traumatic accident and during which a victim stands a greater chance to be saved, thus bringing down the fatality rate on Lebanon’s roads. The motorcycle was inlaid with a rose design, a flower that symbolizes life, and showcased a burgundy red matching RFL’s logo in addition to a reproduction of Beirut’s road network. Saab also designed a helmet matching his artistic masterpiece.
RFL was keen to emphasize the importance of helmets as safety accessories. The 15 helmets that were put up for auction were decorated by several plastic artists, sculptors, architects, jewelry designers, photographs and graffiti artists, including: the Ashekman Band (composed of brothers Omar and Mohamed Kabbani) and its helmet “The Street is Ours”; Bokja Gallery and its helmet “Bad Hair Day”; Karim Chaya and his helmet “Wooosh!”; Karen Chekerdjian and her helmet “Golden Hour”; Nada Debs and her helmet “60 Minutes”; Hania Farrell and her helmet “Under my Wings”; Gregory Gatseralia and his helmet “Antzella”; Yazan Halwani and her helmet “Face of Calligraphy XXI”; Bernard Khoury and his helmet “Handle with Care”; Jamil Molaeb and his helmet “For a Road to Life”; Roger Moukarzel and his helmet “Light your Life”; Selim Mouzannar and his helmet “Fortune”; Jean-Marc Nahas and his helmet “My Dear Friends”; Rana Salam and her helmet “Mahrouse”; and Katya Traboulsi and her helmet “Coming Home”.
The auction was led by Adrian Bidell, former auctioneer at Sotheby’s, after a ten-day online auction that marked the starting price of the live auction on these helmets. The Harley Davidson auction was preceded by the screening of a movie depicting the various steps of its design by Elie Saab.
The redesigned motorcycle auction started at $25,000 and the Harley Davidson sold at $80,000, whereas the helmets selling price ranged from $2,500 to as high as $15,000.
RFL President Zeina Kassem asserted in her speech that the commemoration of World Remembrance Day aims to “send a message of hope and life in lieu of the messages of despair, hopelessness and human life losses.” The proceeds of this event will help raise funds for many of the rescue programs Roads for Life is providing to thousands of beneficiaries in Lebanon thanks to its strategic partnership with Fransabank, BLC Bank, and Bank Audi. In conclusion, Kassem thanked “each artist for their generosity, the gift of their time and their creativity,” with special thanks going to world-renowned designer Elie Saab for “lending his name to serve the rescue cause in Lebanon.”