In Brief

Art Auction Seeks to Help Syrian and Iraqi Refugees

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Hito Steyerl, “Airstrike Envy” (2014) (image courtesy the artist)

An auction to benefit refugees displaced by the Islamic State in northern Syria and Iraq was launched today on the online platform Paddle 8. Organized by artist and e-flux founder Anton Vidokle and the artist and writer Hito Steyerl, the auction raises funds for the Kurdish nonprofit called the Association of Aid and Solidarity for Rojava (Rojava is the name of Syrian Kurdistan).

“Hito and I decided to do this to support the amazing social structure that have been developed in Kobane and other Kurdish cantons in the past few years. It’s one of the few really positive models in the region and we want to help make sure it is not destroyed in the war,” Vidokle told Hyperallergic in an email.

The decision to have an auction followed Steyerl’s trip to the municipality of Suruç in October, where she met with refugee relief organizations working to provide services to some 50,000 people displaced by the Islamic State’s takeover of the Syrian town of Kobane. (A biennial planned across the border from Kobane in the Turkish town of Mardin was also cancelled that month due to the IS onslaught.)

All approached for participation in the auction have, according to the organizers, contributed works: “The artist response has been really generous,” Vidokle said. These include contributions from Halil Altindere, Allora & Calzadilla, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Liam Gillick, Hans Haacke, and Slavs & Tatars. Vidokle and Steyerl each also contributed their own work; a piece by Trevor Paglen will also be offered privately. Based on estimates, the auction is expected to raise mid-to-high five figures for the relief organization.

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