The Ben Navaee Gallery will be hosting a show in support of Toronto’s Aid to Women from June 1-11. The story at the source of the inspiration behind this show involves the gallery’s curator, Ben Navaee, and his partner, Lenka. Like so many stories involving Aid to Women, Ben and Lenka’s is one of love, understanding, compassion and most of all, serendipity. Initially, Ben was prepared to support any decision which Lenka chose when she became pregnant, but after their encounter with Ann Wilson from Aid to Women on the day they went down to the Cabbagetown abortion facility, everything changed.

Mistakenly, the pair ended up in the Aid to Women office instead of the abortion facility. The former is located only a few small steps from the latter. What ensued was an illumination on the part of Ben and Lenka as to the various harmful affects of the “safe procedure” they were intending to procure that day. What surprised Ben was that many methods and procedures touted as safe are actually very harmful, forcing him to ask about what women are not being told. Both physical and psychological, short and long-term, these normally unmentioned effects of abortion troubled them. Coupled with Aid to Women’s offer of post-natal support, Ben and Lenka decided to keep their child.

The Aid to Women benefit is not a first for the Ben Navaee Gallery; in 2001, it hosted a benefit for homelessness, and in 2005, a benefit for cancer. All of the shows are in support of issues that have touched Ben’s life in a unique manner, the upcoming event especially. The actual works that will be presented at the show will be selections from Ben’s own “Aram” arts, inspired by his own exploration into yoga and meditation.

After being informed that I would be covering this event, I was directed to speak to Aid to Women’s Ann Wilson for further information; upon hearing the name of the gallery and its curator, coupled with the story, I realized that Ben was a previous landlord of mine – I recall the night when their child was born. I suppose this is just the last happy coincidence in a story filled with them.