Melbourne-based food writer and Broadsheet contributor Sofia Levin is a force to be reckoned with. But her latest undertaking may be her most important yet.
Last January her dad, Greg, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system. In a year, Greg – a former doctor and a photographer with a passion for travel – has lost the use of his arms.
So, from February 20 to 26, Sofia is celebrating her dad’s photographic prowess with a fundraising exhibition and accompanying event series called Grounded by MND. All profits from artworks and ticket sales will be donated to MND Victoria, a local charity that provides support, advice, equipment and care to those diagnosed with the disease.
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“The paradox is that, while the exhibit showcases my travels, since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease, I have been quite literally grounded,” Greg said in a statement.
“There are many things I can no longer do independently, including my lifelong love of photography. Learning to accept this diagnosis is a difficult and humbling experience, but the title of the exhibition also references the silver lining of my journey – the support of my family, friends and MND Victoria, which has indeed kept me grounded.”
Sofia adds: “My family is thrilled to be fundraising for the incredible team at MND Victoria, but I am personally overjoyed to finally be able to do something for the dad who has always dropped everything for us kids.
“Friends and strangers in the hospitality industry have jumped at the chance to donate their time, skills and product. It just cements to me that I am part of the most beautiful, benevolent community.”
The exhibition – featuring stunning shots from places like Cappadocia, Turkey, and Cuba – will open at No Vacancy Gallery on February 20, with pop-up kings Tom Sarafian and Mischa Tropp cooking Armenian barbeque and masala dosa outside in Jane Bell Lane. Entry is free, and you can register your attendance online.
Then, on February 25, there’ll be a 50-seat Chef Dinner at the gallery, featuring five dishes by leading Melbourne talents like Embla’s Dave Verheul, Etta’s Rosheen Kaul, Bia Hoi’s Jerry Mai and more. Tickets are $240 and include drinks.
And on February 26, the gallery will play host to a Caviar and Yum Cha Banquet. Again, only 50 seats will be available, and the 14 dishes will include black-truffle xiaolongbao, Peking duck and plenty of seafood. Tickets are $188 and include drinks.
Plus, anyone who makes an extra $2 donation over the six days will go into the draw to win a gourmet weekend away in the Yarra Valley for two – worth $2500.
The Grounded for MND exhibition and events run February 20–26 at No Vacancy Gallery. All profits from artwork and ticket sales will be donated to MND Victoria.