“I first visited the Calais Jungle in the summer of 2016 and found the experience to be extremely moving and began to think of ways to use my experience working in the contemporary art world to help,” explains Simon Butler, founder of Migrate Art. Butler established the organisation in 2016 with the aim of supporting those displaced by global conflict. He was later joined by Ian and Joe Syer, founders of leading online contemporary art marketplace My Art Broker. Migrate Art has since raised a staggering £97,000.00. The organisation has a faultless record when it comes to selling art at auction, with 100 per cent of works sold within or above their estimates. Supported by donations from celebrated contemporary artists such as Antony Gormley and Julian Opie,
Migrate Art has been able to donate profits from artwork sales directly to partner organisations across three continents. Butler states, “The money we have raised has not only helped provide food and shelter for tens of thousands of refugees across the world, but it has also helped people learn English and gain tools and trades to become financially independent. The organisations we support cover a number of bases to ensure we are working towards a long term and sustainable solution to this particular humanitarian crisis.”
Raqib Shaw, Childhood From The Four Seasons, 34 CM x 30 CM
This March, Migrate Art will launch Multicolour, an exhibition and auction at Phillips in London featuring specially created artworks by preeminent contemporary artists; Anish Kapoor, Annie Kevans, Annie Morris, Chantal Joffe, Conor Harrington, Conrad Shawcross, Edmund de Waal, Gary Hume, Idris Khan, Jeremy Deller, Joana Vasconcelos, Jonathan Yeo, Keith Coventry, Kevin Francis Gray, Mark Wallinger, Maggi Hambling, Michael Craig-Martin, Nari Ward, Pejac, Rachel Whiteread, Raqib Shaw, Richard Deacon, Richard Woods, Robert Montgomery, Ron Arad, Sara Shamma, Sean Scully, Swoon, The Connor Brothers and Zhang Huan.
Left: Rachel Whiteread, House. Right: Sean Scully, Multicolour
The inspiration for the project came from a visit to the Calais Jungle that took place after the camp had been demolished. Migrate Art discovered objects embedded in the flattened earth that lay testament to the population of approximately 10,000 people who had lived there. The team collected pencils from the rubble of a former school, later sending them to leading artists to create an artwork for inclusion in Multicolour. The only stipulation given was that the original pencils had to be used in the final artwork in some way; whether photographed, used as sculptural material or to draw and create. While the date and venue for the exhibition is to be confirmed, artworks will be auctioned at Phillips, London and online via Artsy and MyArtBroker.com. Proceeds will go to Migrate Art’s key partners; RefuAid, Refugee Community Kitchen, The Lotus Flower and The Worldwide Tribe.
Keith Coventry, Multicolour
“I have visited a number of camps in northern France over the past two and a half years,” says Butler. “It has become increasingly harsh in recent months. I spent Christmas in Calais working with one of the charities we support, and conditions were worse than I have ever seen.”
Multicolour celebrates art and creativity as a response to human urgency. In the words of contributing artist Michael Craig-Martin, Migrate Art is “a cause of exceptional worthiness.”
To be notified with date and location updates for Multicolour please register at www.myartbroker.com/migrateart/