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Nine-year-old Poppy Blackburn, who has battled leukaemia since she was three, is realising her dream of hosting her own art exhibition, thanks to the charity Make-A-Wish UK and Christie’s auction house.

From a young age, Poppy spent more time in hospitals than playgrounds, with art becoming her escape. “It took her out of the hospital room and into her imagination,” said her mother, Stephanie, in a press statement.

From May 19 to 23, Christie’s in London is hosting the exhibition of Poppy’s work, marking a historic moment as she reportedly becomes the youngest artist to enjoy such a presentation at the prestigious art market venue.

The display was brought together by Art of Wishes, a fundraising initiative for Make-A-Wish, spearheaded by the art collector Batia Ofer and curated with the young artist. The show will feature 28 of her vibrant paintings, including her Beads of Courage, in which each bead represents a hospital visit or treatment.

Poppy Blackburn in collaboration with Daisy Blackburn, Orla Hing and Bea Morris, Friendship Patterns (2024)

The planning process brought Poppy into contact with established artists, including Chantal Joffe, Ben Lowe, and Hannah Shergold, who welcomed her into their studios and helped her prepare.

In addition to the central display, an online auction of the works is running 31 May to raise funds for Make-A-Wish UK, which works to grant wishes for critically ill children.

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