The War Child project unveiled guitar designs from 16 well-known artists Monday, Oct. 6. Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe and Matt Bellamy were among those who contributed instruments that will be available for auction Nov. 9 at Bonhams New York. All proceeds will go to War Child.
The nonprofit's stated mission is to "work with war-affected communities to help children reclaim their childhood through access to education, opportunity and justice. War Child takes an active role in raising public awareness around the impact of war on communities and the shared responsibility to act."
The guitars are an innovative way to secure funding, especially when all-time greats pitch in.
"No person, and certainly no child, should have to endure what many of these children have lived through, and in some cases, still live in," said Stipe, who named his piece Radiant Guitar. "I am honored to be able to make a small contribution towards helping them."
Film director Gus van Sant also designed a guitar.
"War Child's mission to bring war-affected communities the resources that their circumstances demand is not only crucial and appropriate, but speaks to a fundamental quality we have as humans to respond and react to injustice, even when we're not directly affected ourselves," he told Rolling Stone. "There is some mystery in the contrast between lives lived in abundance and lives lived in poverty and struggle. There is mystery in the connection we have to each other and the ability to react to injustice. Art can be a meditation on these mysteries, as it was for me during the process of this project. I'm grateful to be able to take part in a response and to support War Child's programs that make a difference in the lives of over 375,000 war-effected children a year."
Meanwhile, Iggy Pop offered a rhythmic explanation for his Soulman Guitar: "Soulman goin' 110 / colored dots signify the end / Soulman sings a soulful song / clear and simple, deep and long."
The guitar designs range from simple to extravagant — Stipe's includes a working clock on the backside, and Iggy drew a Soulman mural on the back of his.