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As the Russian invasion of Ukraine escalates, people around the world are taking individual actions to offer their support to the citizens of Ukraine. In cities from Auckland to Vancouver, organizers have set up drop-off sites, collecting essential supplies for those still living in the war-torn country and those who have fled. Others, like celebrated designers Sabine Marcelis, Karl Monies, and Julius Værnes Iversen of Copenhagen design studio Tableau, are taking to online platforms to reach a wider audience and raise funds for Ukrainian relief.
These talents have quickly tapped into their strong Instagram followings and made good use of the platform to auction off sought-after collectible furnishings and objects. The proceeds are directly allocated to various charities including the Red Cross, Rescue.org, and NGO Proliska. Most of the pieces on offer—such as Marcelis’s iconic Candy Cubes and Medium Glaze mirrors—are blue and yellow, just like the Ukrainian flag.
“We’re watching a humanitarian crisis unfold before our eyes,” says Amsterdam-based, Latvian-born Germans Ermic?s. “I wanted to help in any way I could.” Following the example of his colleagues, the recognized designer put his 2021 colored-glass Blue-Yellow Mirror Beam up for auction on Tuesday. It has already received a €2,900 offer (around $3,164 USD). Bidding closes at midnight CET. “I’m Latvian, and this conflict is close to home,” he adds. “It not only threatens my country but my entire European family.” His Ukrainian Sky post—depicting the same yellow-to-blue gradient and the mirror beam—has gone viral as a symbol of the collective effort.
While New York–based Eny Lee Parker sold one of her brown clay lamps for close to $3,000, noted multidisciplinary designer Alex Proba is selling one of the paintings currently on view as part of her Gemstone Groceries solo show at Portland gallery Stephanie Chefas Projects. The work, normally valued at $9,750, has already garnered a $4,500 offer, with more expected. Bidding closes on Sunday. Both Parker and Proba are donating the proceeds to humanitarian and animal-focused charities such as Save the Children and UAnimals.
Each of the designers who have put up works for auction are either accepting bids directly in the comments section or via email. The posts are frequently updated with the latest offers. And, if the sale happens to close before you’re able to place a bid, another industry auction benefiting Ukrainian relief efforts takes place this weekend. Alice Wawrik of By Alice has assembled 100 lots, featuring design products from Matilda Goad, Henry Holland Studio, Penny Morrison, and more, with proceeds of the sale going to Choose Love’s Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser.
Despite all of the misgivings we might have about a social media platform like Instagram, it’s clear that such a service can be used in creative and effective ways, especially in times of crisis.
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