by Vatsala SethiDec 26, 2022
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a moment of traumatisation for the world. From airlifts, third World War talks to extreme shifts in economical, political, cultural, and social situations, the invasion has been nothing, but heart breaking for the whole world to witness. Yet, there’s always a ray of hope amidst the darkness. In response to the war in Ukraine, Artist Support Pledge founder, Matthew Burrows MBE, and artist-curator Zavier Ellis of Ellis Smith Projects, have come together to launch Ukraine Support Pledge.
Ukraine Support Pledge aims to bridge the cultural and economic divide similar to the Artist Support Pledge. Within three weeks, the initiative has raised over £97,000. Burrows and Ellis are inviting artists to offer artwork and collectors to acquire for just £200 / $200 / €200. The process for supporting the movement is pretty straightforward. Artists upload images or videos of their artwork on Instagram with the hashtag #ukrainesupportpledge and #artistsupportpledge and list their work for sale. They follow a standard scripted description and input the details according to their work. Then, if people are interested in buying, they message (DM) the artist. Anyone can buy the work, and artists don’t need permission to join. All proceeds go to GlobalGiving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund by donating directly to the Ukraine Support Pledge Just Giving page. Instagram is the go-to platform for artists where they receive immense support, hence Burrows’ choice to establish the Artist Support Pledge and Ukraine Support Pledge on the social media platform.
The Ukraine Support Pledge follows the trajectory of the Artist Support Pledge founded by visual artist Matthew Burrows in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The not-for-profit organisation served as a lifeline for many artists during the pandemic when the biennales, art fairs, and global art events were tied to the uncertainty and massive debts lingered.
Artist Support Pledge is now a global movement of connected communities committed to an equitable and sustainable economy for artists and makers of all countries, media, and ethnicities. ASP established itself on Instagram, a popular platform for artists to post images and share their work.
Born in Wirral, in the UK in 1971, Burrows currently lives and works as an artist in East Sussex, United Kingdom. With a Master’s degree in painting from the Royal College of Art, London, in 1995, Burrows speaks of painting as a form of subsistence, dependent on and emerging from the ground at his feet. His artworks are contemplative, thoughtful, and slow to reveal a complex structural area of marks, shapes, and pigment.
International curator, artist, and originator of multiple art-based initiatives, Zavier Ellis was born in Windsor in the United Kingdom in 1973. He has a Masters degree in Fine Art from City & Guilds of London Art School (2003-2005). Zavier is the founder and director of CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, a curatorial gallery project that runs off-site exhibitions in diverse locations. In response to recent global events, Zavier launched the online work on paper initiative PROJECT PAPYROPHILIA during the first lockdown; and the Ukraine Support Pledge with Burrows to raise funds by selling artwork for the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.
(Text by Vatsala Sethi, Asst. Editorial Coordinator (Arts))