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Switzerland

In Geneva, The Sharing Economy Tries To Break Into Art World

Can't afford original artwork? Never fear. For a small fee, people in Geneva can borrow a piece or two.

Some of the art you can borrow at Geneva's Pinacothèque
Some of the art you can borrow at Geneva's Pinacothèque
Sébastien Ladermann

GENEVA — We go to libraries to borrow books, so why shouldn't we be able to do the same with paintings? This is the question that inspired La Pinacothèque, in Geneva.

The project's aim, since its creation in 2005, has been to meet the demand for art by letting people borrow from its collection of about 100 works. Genres and formats vary, from photographs, paintings, drawings or serigraphs, to please all sorts of connoisseurs.

There's no elitism at La Pinacothèque. Art is for the many, and so it must spread. Thus the affordable prices: Borrowing one of La Pinacothèque's paintings for one year costs 100 Swiss francs ($104) for members and 150 Swiss francs ($156) for non-members. And, over the course of that year, the paintings can be exchanged.

To borrow a work of art, people can visit the showroom — either by personal appointment or during one of various scheduled events — and select something directly, or else log into the La Pinacothèque website and choose virtually.

Cléo Fiala and Ariel Inzaurralde initiated the project. The couple's private collection, initially made of the works of Uruguayan students and professors from the Torres-Garcia school, was enriched with new favorites through the years. It now also includes the works of several local artists, both famous or in the making. It's worth noting the presence of reproductions of Thierry Vernet"s drawings, famous among other things for his illustrations for his friend Nicolas Bouvier's book L'Usage du Monde (The Way of the World).

So, about that painting that's been hanging in your living room so long it's starting to drive you crazy... Now there's no excuse but to replace it. After all, bringing new, original art into a home is both instructive and invigorating. And who knows? It might even encourage children and adults to visit more museums.

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Society

In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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