Sotheby's joins forces with newspapers to raise funds to build London's largest ever community kitchen

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Sotheby's joins forces with newspapers to raise funds to build London's largest ever community kitchen
Mark Wallinger, 'Ghost'. Est. £4,000-6,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON.- This Summer, Sotheby’s is joining forces with The Evening Standard and The Independent to raise funds to build London’s largest community kitchen. Leading contemporary artists have generously donated artworks for the cause, which will be sold as part of Sotheby’s online auction of Contemporary Art, running from 20-30 July. All the proceeds will go towards the creation of the kitchen, which will work closely with charities, including the Felix Project, to feed London.

Sotheby’s auction follows the launch of The Evening Standard’s ‘Food For London Now’ and The Independent’s ‘Help The Hungry’ appeals, in aid of The Felix Project – the capitals largest food surplus distributer, collecting quality food from the food industry that can no longer be sold and would otherwise go to waste.

Both initiatives, together with the charity, are funding the provision of food to the poor, elderly and vulnerable across London in the battle to prevent hunger, worsened by the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Working with a team of 5,000 volunteers, The Felix Project distributes food to 35O front-line charities, primary schools and holiday programmes in London. Since the start of lockdown, they have already delivered 7 million meals.

Highlights from Sotheby’s ‘Help the Hungry Auction’ include an intimate drawing from Tracey Emin, a series of three etchings by Anish Kapoor, Mark Wallinger’s “Ghost”, and Bob & Roberta Smith’s poignant placard “We Have Only Got Each Other” – an inscription inspired by the last few words uttered by the artist’s mother. Created in the kilns of Jingdezhen, “Small Plate with Flowers” by Ai Weiwei also joins the line-up alongside Yinka Shonibare’s “Unstructured Icons - Aristocrat I”, and a pair of polished steel reliefs by British artist Michael Craig-Martin.

Over the past three months The Felix Project has scaled up fast and effectively to meet the hunger crisis, which has followed in the wake of Covid-19. Although our food is surplus and donated to us and we have over 1,500 volunteers, our costs are still spiralling. The coming unemployment crisis means we are in this for the long term. This new community kitchen will be unique. It will provide a high-quality meal for homeless Londoners, cooked by great chefs using surplus food. The kitchen will also be used to produce hot meals from food provided and then distributed by us to charities around London. Sotheby’s has been a Felix supporter almost since our launch and, together with The Evening Standard, it has found a new way to support our plan to expand our operation across all of London. This extraordinary auction of donated works from so many leading artists is a first for us and for London. --Justin Byam Shaw, the founder of The Felix Project

Since lockdown, I have had the pleasure of witnessing first-hand the phenomenal work of The Felix Project, delivering food parcels across London to help those in need of their most basic human rights – access to food. During these unprecedented times, it is certainly a great privilege for Sotheby’s to work hand in hand with the charity and Evgeny, supporting their mission via an auction of Contemporary Art. We are grateful to the artists who have generously contributed their works, and we’re looking forward to channelling part of the excitement of our major sales in London this month into a cause, which will provide help, food and comfort to the capital’s most vulnerable. --Oliver Barker, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe

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