Most of us feel utterly powerless in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But, while buying a painting or a print may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, some artists, auction houses, galleries and online platforms are selling art, via various methods, to help the aid effort in Ukraine.
Here are a few avenues through which you can help—new initiatives are cropping up daily, but this should get you started.
What: The Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund, The Naked Room Kyiv
The Naked Room, a Kyiv-based contemporary art gallery which is producing the Ukraine pavilion at the Venice Biennale, has launched a fundraising campaign called the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund. The fund, administrated by the (MOCA) Museum of Contemporary Art NGO, aims to help Ukrainian artists and cultural workers. While this initiative is not actually selling art, the platform is encouraging people to donate and provides a Google doc of useful links for artists and workers including details of residencies targeted at Ukrainian artists, emergency relocation schemes and opportunities such as a three-month paid internship for 15 Ukrainian refugees at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. You can find out more and donate (in fiat or cryptocurrency) here.
What: Artist Support pledge, #ukrainesupportpledge
During the pandemic, the Instagram-based Artist Support Pledge, founded by the artist Matthew Burrows in March 2020, raised over £30m for artists. Now, reacting to a new crisis, Burrows, along with the artist and curator Zavier Ellis of Ellis Smith Projects, has launched the Ukraine Support Pledge, using the hashtag #ukrainesupportpledge. It is a similar idea to the #artistsupportpledge—artists post their work on Instagram for sale with a suggested donation of £200 ($200 or €200), tagged with both hashtags. Buyers message the artist to check the work is available, then donate the funds via the JustGiving page—a screen grab of their donation acts as a proof of purchase. At the time of writing, nearly £50,000 had been raised on the JustGiving page for the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, and over 1,300 posts had been tagged #ukrainesupportpledge.
What: Idris Khan print
When: until 31 March
The British artist Idris Khan is selling a new print titled I Thought We Had More Time... to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organisation that includes charities such as the British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children. The print is an open edition that is only available for 10 days (until 31 March) on the Migrate Art website. It costs £300, with all profits going to charity. According to a spokesperson for the artist, the work raised more than £100,000 in its first 48 hours of being on sale.
What: Printastic benefit auction in aid of Save the Children
Where: Ketterer Kunst, online
When: until 15 March
The Munich-based auction house Ketterer Kunst is donating all its buyer’s premium from the current “Printastic” online auction to Save the Children’s efforts in Ukraine. “The entire team is deeply moved by the events in the Ukraine“, says Robert Ketterer, the auction house’s owner. “What was particularly important to us was to find an organization with an established local experience that will continue to help the people even after the war. So we chose Save the Children.” The auction includes prints by Otto Mueller, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef Albers, Georg Baselitz, Rupprecht Geiger and Hans Hartung.
What: Karol Radziszewski’s "Lesya Ukrainka" edition
Where: BWA Warszawa gallery and Kwiaciarnia Grafiki workshop, Warsaw (online)
When: until the end of March
The Warsaw-based gallery BWA Warszawa and print studio Kwiaciarnia Grafiki have teamed up with the Polish artist Karol Radziszewski to release the Lesya Ukrainka edition, a screenprint depicting Ukrainka (1871-1913) who was a feminist Ukrainian writer, activist and feminist pioneer. The signed edition of 100 is available to buy for a minimum donation of €100 or PLN500, all of which will go to the Polish Humanitarian Action’s SOS Ukraine campaign which is providing humanitarian aid to the country. “There are over 1.3 million Ukrainians that have arrived in Poland and over 100,000 of them in Warsaw alone,” Michał Suchora, who manages BWA Warszawa, tells The Art Newspaper. “Everybody tries to do the best he or she can, providing food, shelter etc. People's engagement is very important but we are not experts in humanitarian aid. This is why we support PAH, a very experienced NGO.” Suchora adds that although Ukraine is Poland’s biggest neighbour, many Polish people know nothing about Ukrainian culture: “This is why Karol Radziszewski decided to not only raise money but also introduce Lesya Ukrainka to a wider public. If we want to really support Ukraine, we must know it better, we must recognise them as one of us.”
What: Support Ukraine: works by Nikita Kadan
Where: Galerie Poggi, Paris (and online)
Paris-based Galerie Poggi is “especially apprehensive” about the safety of one of its Ukrainian artists, Nikita Kadan, who is currently hidden in the Voloshyn Gallery, an underground exhibition space in Kyiv that, once again, is being used as a bomb shelter, as it was during the Soviet era. So, the gallery is selling a selection of Kadan’s work to raise money which will go directly to the artist and an emergency fund created by the collective “Beyond the Post-Soviet.” Prices range from €800 to €6,000, and the works can be viewed on the gallery’s website.
What: Pictures for Purpose, print sale fundraiser for Ukraine
When: 10-24 March
In this third edition, Pictures for Purpose, founded in 2020 to raise money for urgent causes through photography, is supporting those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine by raising money for World Central Kitchen, which provides food during crises. Some 41 artists have donated prints, including Ukrainians such as Daria Svertilova, Julie Poly and Synchrodogs alongside international names such as Rineke Dijkstra, Jamie Hawkesworth, Nadav Kander, and Alec Soth. All prints measure 20cm by 30cm, are unsigned, in open editions and are priced at €125. Artists can choose to receive 25% of the proceeds or donate the full amount.
What: Art For Charity Collective auction in aid of Choose Love
Where: Instagram @ART FOR CHARITY COLLECTIVE
When: until 11 March
Art for Charity Collective (ACC), launched in June 2020 by the British artist Lucy Kent, has launched a “flash fundraiser” auction on Instagram in aid of Choose Love, raising money for the people of Ukraine. Over 50 artists have donated works so far and they are open to bids via Instagram until tomorrow, 11 March. Participating artists include Henrietta Abel Smith, Daisy Sims Hilditch, Gina Soden, Josh Clare, Phoebe Dickinson and Martin Brooks.
What: Art4Ukraine, in support of War Child and Choose Love
Where: The Print Space, online at art4ukraine.com
When: until 10pm GMT, 16 March
London-based theprintspace studio has launched Art4Ukraine, an online sale of A4 archival photo prints to raise money to help refugees from Ukraine. The prints, by 30 Ukrainian and international artists, are all priced at £100 (including global postage) and all profits will be split between the charities War Child and Choose Love to help their work in Ukraine. Dimitri Bogachuk, one of the Ukrainian photographers whose work is included, says: “I'm happy that currently I'm home, not somewhere else. A few days before the war started, I returned from a visit to Sweden. Right now, I'm spending time with my family playing games in the bomb shelter during the curfew. I wish when this horrible situation will end in Ukraine as soon as possible, all my relatives and friends will be alive and healthy and we could return to normal life.” Another, Yelena Yemchuck, says: "I think the only thing I can say at the moment is we all need to stand up and stop this war, this insane invasion of a peaceful country. Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom and the freedom of all people. Support Ukraine, speak out, donate"
What: For Ukraine: SuperRare Artists Support the Cause
Where: SuperRare, online
NFTs have, of course, been the foremost art media in the bid to raise money for Ukraine (though cryptocurrencies are proving a double-edged sword, as both a potential form of sanctions-dodging for Russians and a means to donate to Ukraine). There are myriad fundraising efforts on NFT platforms, including a page (launched last week) on SuperRare called For Ukraine: SuperRare Artists Support the Cause, which is offering NFTs by 13 artists including Olive Allen (who recently burnt her Russian passport), Lorenzo Quinn, Niro Perrone and Flora Borsi. “Like millions of people around the world watching the brutal war unfold in Ukraine, the SuperRare community is moved to support the Ukrainian people in their struggle,” says a statement on the site. Each artist has committed to donating some or all of the proceeds from their work to a charity helping Ukraine, including Save the Children, Unicef and the official Ukranian ETH wallet—SuperRare Labs will match the 15% commission that the SuperRare DAO receives from all primary sales (up to $50,000 total) to the same charity.
What: Alex Echo’s BAYC, Young Ape Diaries NFT, Ziskey Meets Zelenskyy and supports Ukraine
Where: OpenSea, online
When: until 1 April
Alex Echo is a 63-year-old American artist living in the UK. “I have Parkinson’s disease, and as a consequence of diminishing mobility I’ve turned to digital artwork, NFT, web.3, meta-verse and large scale 3D-printing,” he tells The Art Newspaper. Echo was given the Bored Ape Yacht Club image No. 8025 in order to create a narrative for the young ape, Ziskey’s, fictional life. Echo says: “’BAYC Ziskey Meets Zelenskyy’ is literally an up-to-the-minute journal entry from this young apes life and times, including going to Ukraine to help as a field medic and meeting President Zelenskyy.” This particular NFT is for sale via OpenSea at 100 ETH ($250,000-$275,000) and 100% of proceeds will be given to the British Red Cross and UNICEF Ukrainian aid appeals.
What: Marina Abramović and Sean Kelly host a benefit auction with Artsy to aid humanitarian relief in Ukraine
Where: Artsy, online
When: until 25 March
Winners of this two-lot auction, hosted online by Artsy, will have the chance to be photographed with celebrated performance artist Marina Abramović on the final day of her current exhibition, Performative, at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York City. The portrait will be taken amidst her installation of The Artist is Present, a six-projection film that captures her 2010 performance at the Museum of Modern Art, during which she sat across from museum visitors for eight-hours a day over nearly three months. Marco Anelli, who documented every sitting in Abramović’s iconic performance, will be behind the lens and each sitter will receive a framed copy of the photograph signed by both Abramović and Anelli. All proceeds from the auction will go to Direct Relief’s emergency response to aid Ukraine.
What: Artists in support of aid to Ukraine
Where: Thaddaeus Ropac galleries in London, Paris, Salzburg and Seoul, and online
Thaddaeus Ropac was donated work by a number of artists they represent and are selling a selection of paintings and sculptures that have been created for or selected as contributions to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. The works are on view across the gallery's five storefront locations as well as online, and include pieces by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Antony Gormley and Martha Jungwirth. Gormley has donated two pieces, including Stop (for Ukraine), 2022, made from blood and the juice of walnut fruits. All proceeds from sales will go will go to three international organisations, the the Disasters Emergency Committee, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Austrian Red Cross.
What: Prints for Ukraine
The website for Prints for Ukraine says that "in response to the senseless tragedy unfolding as the Russian military continues to invade Ukraine, Prints for Ukraine features artists working in the medium of photography who have worked in the country." Artists currently participating are Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Alec Soth, Juergen Teller and Yelena Yemchuk. Prints are available for $175, plus shipping costs. All proceeds go towards Voices of Children, a Ukraine-based aid organisation that provides psychological support to children who have witnessed war and, Kyiv Independent, an English-language newspaper covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
What: Connect Art Fair
Where: Mall Galleries, London
When: 23-27 March
Dealers at this year's Connect Art Fair have "decided that they will put together a Wall of Paintings to be offered for sale with either proceeds, profit or a percentage being passed on to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) going directly to help Ukrainian refugees," says a statement. Also, the flying cap and scarf that belonged to the RAF hero Sir Douglas Bader will be sold for £25,000, with a third of the proceeds going towards DEC. Participating dealers include Goodman Fine Art, Kynance Fine Art, Long and Ryle, Thomas Spencer Fine Art and Blondes Fine Art.
What: Conrad Frankel exhibition
Where: Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin
When: 10 April-1 May
The artist Conrad Frankel will give 20% of all sales proceeds from his exhibition, War Paint, in Dublin, to helping displaced Ukrainians. Frankel says in a statement: "When Russian forces invaded Ukraine two weeks ago and Putin began his ultra-violent smash up in Ukraine I felt compelled to turn my attention to the war as an artist. I just couldn’t sit and paint still lives anymore. It felt wrong at this time; I had to paint the war, to show the horror of it, the inhumanity of it... I want to do something deeper with the news I can’t stop looking at. To make it real in paint."