In an attempt to assist the on-going humanitarian crisis in Syria, some of the world’s high profile artists, actors and filmmakers have got together with Syrian refugees and schoolchildren from Devon, Scotland and Yorkshire to create a series of postcards to be auctioned by the British Red Cross as part of their Postcards for Syria project, marking the fifth year of the crisis.
Artists Grayson Perry and John Keane, and filmmaker Ken Loach, are among many who have taken part in creating postcards depicting the crisis, focusing on the themes of hope, humanity and home.
Perry’s work is untitled, and typically takes a less romantic view of the countries, like the UK, that the refugees are being forced to flee to. Creating a map labelled with landmarks such as ‘fragile hope’, ‘investment opportunity’, ‘motorway of dreams (mistaken)’, ‘hell’ and ‘crap jobs’ – he gives a slightly more dystopian take on Europe’s promised lands.
Ken Loach takes an excerpt form poet John Donne’s, No Man is an Island: “No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main … any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Other artists such as Mustafa Jacoub, a Syrian artist living in Germany has created Refugees, a manipulated photo of a boat full of refugees on the back of a great blue whale and Diala Brisly, who is Syrian illustrator now living in Beirut. Her illustrations, influenced by comic books depict families floating away on hot air balloons and people in lifejackets trapped on boats in choppy waters. Her work is not just on these postcards, but also adorns the walls of refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey.
Ted Tuthill, head of British Red Cross Middle East and North Africa described the motives behind the project: “The conflict in Syria has raged for five long years, bringing intolerable suffering to the lives of millions of people. Postcards for Syria provides a way for people to respond to this devastating humanitarian crisis in a more personal form. These cards will also help to raise vital funds to continue the aid operation in Syria, supporting Red Crescent volunteers who have been working through the most dangerous and difficult situations since the fighting began.”
The postcards are on display until the Friday 18 March at British Red Cross headquarters in Moorfields, London, with an online gallery here.
The eBay auction began at 7pm on Sunday 13 March and will continue until this Sunday 20 March. Proceed wills go to the British Red Cross Syria appeal to support relief work in Syria and the region.