"When I was approached to take part in Migrate Art’s project, I kept thinking about this intense, primal love that a mother has over her children, how I feel about my two children... I felt inspired to participate because providing safe passage for families and refugees is important work, and I’m honored to be able to help."

Loie Hollowell

Collection: Scorched Earth


Cork Street Galleries

19– 27 September 2020


Post War & Contemporary Day Sale Auction at Christie’s London

Friday 23 October 2020

‘Scorched Earth’ was a charity auction and exhibition in September 2020 of new works by leading artists, including Migrate Art’s ongoing supporters like Antony Gormley, Richard Deacon and Anish Kapoor, as well as several new contributors such as Loie Hollowell and Mona Hatoum. The fundraiser and exhibition was organised in direct response to the widespread deliberate destruction of crop fields in Northern Iraq, for which members of the ISIS terrorist group have claimed at least partial responsibility. The participating artists have created new works using paint pigmented with ash that we collected from the Kurdish land scorched by these fires.


In 2019 our founder Simon Butler visited refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan with one of the organisation’s charity partners The Lotus Flower, which provides support to women and children displaced by war. The region has faced the deliberate destruction of hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, amounting to tens of millions of US Dollars in lost revenue and threatening food security. These destructive fires have been attributed to organised militia groups who are using them as an intimidation tactic – most likely ISIS. Simon collected ash from the burnt crop fields and brought it back to London to produce paint to be given to artists to use to create original artworks. The exhibition also included a selection of charcoal drawings on paper made by children living in an Iraqi refugee camp during art workshops hosted by Migrate Art.

Other artists who have included original works for auction are: Conor Harrington, Jason Martin, Jules de Balincourt, Nathalie du Pasquier, Rachel Whiteread, Raqib Shaw, Richard Long, Walid Siti and Yahon Chang. Also as a part of the initiative, Shepard Fairey designed two limited-edition screen prints using ink pigmented with the ash.

These are now sold out, but you can find on our Editions page.

Collecting ash, making paint


The 15 original works were sold as part of Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Day Sale on 23 October 2020, raising a total of £262,000 pounds. This was donated in equal proportion to our three charity partners – RefuAid, Refugee Community Kitchen and The Lotus Flower – whose work supports those affected by the global refugee crisis. The Shepard Fairey prints raised an additional £115,700, making Scorched Earth’s total amount £377,700 raised.


Coming from the region and having witnessed what happened to Yezidis through friends and media as well visiting the refugee camps near Duhok in 2018, the cause of this project resonated with my sense of rage, helplessness and the urge to help as an artist. My work increasingly considers the precarious relations between collective identity, interdependence and its constraints on the individual through considerations of heritage, tradition, homes, borders, mobility and migration in general so with this project I’m combining many of these themes within this new work titled ‘Trials’"

Walid Siti