The terrible situation faced by the refugees fleeing Syria has been on my mind a lot recently. I feel so much pain and sadness every time the desperate images are shown, and with the omnipresent nature of social media the visual assault can come upon you at any time and cannot be unseen. I feel, and I'm sure many of you do too, so small and helpless in the face of such large scale distress, and have been feeling very uncomfortable about the fact that I'm not really doing anything that will make a difference.
Today, as my democratically elected government votes (presumably) to join the countries already dropping bombs on Syria and adding to the numbers of people fleeing their homes, a friend shared this picture on facebook, and I couldn't face another day of inaction.
This child is about the same age as my own daughter. It makes me feel sick that there are families having to go through this. I don't know what I would do if my baby was struggling in the water off a foreign shore because my home was being bombed to the ground. I cannot comprehend what these men, women and children are having to live through. They are people. They are HUMANS. And I feel like so many of those in power are not seeing them or do not care what is happening.
That photograph was shared from the page of a Dutch charity called Sichting Bootvluchteling (The Boat Refugee Foundation). They are working on Malta, Lesbos and Kos to help refugees arriving by boat. When I saw that today I felt like there was a tiny point of light in this terrible darkness and I realised what I can do. I can make art. And many of my friends can too. So I am going to organise a charity sale of artwork to raise funds for Bootvluchteling.
I haven't worked out all the details yet, I was initially thinking of using ebay for charity with a central account to list the items and each donor posting their artwork directly to the winning bidder. However the foundation is not registered with eBay for charity so I will look at all the options. I have already had a couple of wonderful, kind friends agree to donate a work and would love to hear from anyone else who would like to be involved. I want to get this up and running quickly to see if we can get these artworks out to their new homes in time for Christmas so do get in touch if you would like to donate or can help spread the word. I will post all the details as soon as I have them!