Can art change the world? The charity Migrate has a very simple aim – to raise funds through sales and auctions of artworks donated by artists for the benefit of organisations helping migrants and refugees.
When the Calais Jungle refugee camp was demolished by the authorities in 2016, lots of things were left behind by the refugees who had to hurriedly leave taking a limited amount with them. In among the debris were pencils and crayons, presumably used by children to pass the time while they were there. Creativity exists even in adverse circumstances.
For the initiative MULTICOLOUR, many of the best-known names in British art such as Rachel Whiteread, Michael Craig-Martin, Conrad Shawcross, Jonathan Yeo and Ron Arad have created artworks using some of the pencils and crayons salvaged from the Calais Jungle refugee camp after its destruction in 2016. Many of the artists such as Ron Arad, Rachel Whiteread, Kevin Francis Grey, Swoonhave incorporated the pencils themselves in their work or, like Michael Craig-Martin, images of them; others have used them to create drawings, many full of hope such as Anish Kapoor’s light at the end of the tunnel or Richard Woods image of somewhere to call home; others such as Jonathan Yeo have used them to create work that is recognisably their style.
Perhaps the last word goes to the artist Robert Montgomery who has written in bold letters:
‘You don’t get on a rubber boat with your children and try to cross an ocean unless you have cried out your heart every night and are in fear of your life every day’.