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eBay, Public Art Fund, and Ai Weiwei Partner for World Refugee Day with an Exclusive Sale of Artworks

Press Release

Proceeds benefit Public Art Fund, USA for UNHCR, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

Artist and activist Ai Weiwei and leading arts non-profit Public Art Fund are partnering for a second time with eBay to exclusively release a series of six powerful new works of art for charity on June 20, World Refugee Day. The six works are compelling portraits of refugees: a remarkable and timely expression of the artist’s work surrounding this global humanitarian crisis. There are 500 editions of each of the six banners, available for $750 each.

“I am happy that Public Art Fund and eBay are offering a special edition of six banners to support Public Art Fund, as well as USA for UNHCR and the IRC,” said Ai Weiwei. “These six banners were selected from among the 200 banners included as a part of my ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ exhibition in New York City. The work is directly related to the history of human migration and aims to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis happening today. It is a reminder of the artist’s responsibility to defend the understanding that all humans share the same meaning of life. I have always believed that to be the foundation of our aesthetic practice.”

The sale will launch June 20 at eBay.com/aiweiwei, and the limited editions will be available through June 27, 2018, or until the works sell out. The banners may be collected individually or as a complete series of six—for $4,500 per series. They may be hung directly on the wall, framed, or installed as banners.

"Public Art Fund is thrilled to partner with Ai Weiwei and eBay to realize this powerful series of portraits that not only embodies Ai's determination to bring attention to this urgent global issue, but also enables collectors to bring an aspect of Public Art Fund's landmark exhibition, ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,’ into their own homes,” said Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator, Nicholas Baume. “Ai's generosity is unparalleled, and this is a unique opportunity for collectors to support the missions of Public Art Fund, USA for UNHCR and the IRC, while collecting a major work by Ai Weiwei.” 

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the Public Art Fund and Ai Weiwei to exclusively give our 171 million active buyers a chance to own limited artworks for an important cause,”said Sam Bright, Senior Director of Art & Collectibles at eBay. “This special sale furthers our mission to use the power of our platform to impact significant causes, benefiting two essential organizations supporting refugees.”

All proceeds will go to charity. The edition will support Public Art Fund’s mission to provide democratic access to contemporary art by today’s most important artists, as well as a catalogue about Ai Weiwei’s recent exhibition. In addition, Public Art Fund will make a donation to USA for UNHCR to support the vital work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as well as the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in recognition of their work supporting displaced people.

In October of 2017, eBay, Ai Weiwei and New York’s Public Art Fund first partnered on an exclusive charity sale of two special edition limited artworks which sold in 24 hours.

The sale follows eBay’s successful Warren Buffett power lunch benefiting disenfranchised communities of San Francisco through GLIDE, which raised $3,300,100. To see more charity events, visit eBay.com/charityshop.

About the Exclusive Artworks

The six portraits were selected by the artist from his original series of 200 individually numbered portraits of immigrants and refugees, from the nineteenth century to today, installed on lampposts across New York City in Public Art Fund’s landmark exhibition “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.” Ai transformed these vinyl banners, traditionally used for advertising, into captivating works of art. Using the same industrial vinyl and laser-cutting technique, the new editions replicate the original banners at half scale: 17” x 48”.

The six portraits for sale were installed across the city, including on East 56 Street between Fifth & Madison Avenues, outside of Trump Tower, and locations on the Lower East Side and East Village, near where Ai lived as student and immigrant in the 1980s. The portraits range from historical immigrants such as feminist political activist Emma Goldman to current day refugees photographed by the artist and his team at the Shariya Camp in Iraq.

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