“MACHO POSTURING / THERE IS NO GOD,” reads British artist Grayson Perry’s newest drawing, which depicts an industrial wasteland with territories marked “fragile hope,” “crap jobs,” and “motorway of dreams (mistaken).”
The piece was designed for the British Red Cross’s Postcards for Syria project, which enlisted artists, celebrities, and schoolchildren from Syria and the UK to make postcards illustrating themes of “hope, humanity, and home.” This month, the postcards will be on view at the British Red Cross headquarters in London and then auctioned online to raise funds for the Syria Crisis Appeal, which supports relief work in the region.
The auction marks the five-year point of Syria’s humanitarian crisis, which has reached unprecedented levels. More than 11 million people have fled their homes, and more than 13 million people in the country are in need of aid, 6.5 million of whom are children. Prominent Syrian artists who contributed to the project include Mohammad Omran — with a surreal, “Guernica”-inspired scene — and Tammam Azzam, who contributed several works including a photograph of a playground sign punctured with a bullet hole.
Among the other contributors to the charity postcard project is socialist film director Ken Loach, who submitted a postcard scrawled with John Donne’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. Comedian Shazia Mirza, whose new show The Kardashians Made Me Do It is about ISIS and Jihadi brides, made a childlike drawing of a suburban house filled with welcomed migrants. Fortunately, the Red Cross didn’t invite Ai Weiwei to make a postcard version of the photograph of himself posing as a drowned child refugee, which is a cautionary example of how not to make art about a humanitarian crisis.
Postcards for Syria are up for auction on eBay through March 20.