I remember exactly what I was doing on March 11, 2010. I was sitting in a newsroom at UC Berkeley, furiously typing away on my MacBook trying to meet a deadline, and, of course, refreshing my Facebook news feed. And that’s how I found out about the deadly tsunami in Japan. After a frenzied search for the TV remote, I clicked through channel after channel of news coverage about the natural disaster.
In only two years, two countries have lost thousands of people and suffered irreparable damage — a 7.0-magnitude quake in Haiti in early 2010 and the tsunami on the east coast of Japan that was brought on by a 8.9-magnitude quake.
But out of these tragedies came an outpouring of support and an onslaught of relief efforts. From businesses and individuals collecting monetary donations and canned goods, to artists auctioning off their famed works of art and one-of-a-kind creations.
Below are some of the cool items that helped raised millions of dollars for disaster relief organizations around the world. Some of them are still available for purchase!
Bags and Badges
Fellisimo’s cotton twill tote bag is ideal for a reusable grocery bag or as a bookbag, especially with the medley of cute mini badges that come with purchase. Each button was inspired or designed by celebrities such as Tadao Ando, Yoshinobu Araki, Jackie Chan, Seitaro Kuroda, and Takashi Yanase.
Tout this floral themed print as a poster (offered in a bunch of different sizes), canvas, iPhone cover, and even an iPhone or iPod skin! The design was inspired by a lotus flower’s ability to grow in muddy conditions and blossom in sunlight. The artist, Linda Yuki Nakanishi, uses it as a metaphor for how strong the Japanese are during these hard times.
“This poster represents the resilience of the Japanese people,” write Nakanishi. “The lotus symbolizes birth and rebirth, and the red lotus in particular represents love, compassion and passion (much of which is needed for the people of Japan).”
In Their Hearts
Underground artist Josh Geiser created this cardstock print as a part of The Poster Card Project’s relief efforts. Purchase here.
Ryan Cooper decided to think outside of the artistic bubble and created a three-dimensional piece called Land of the Rising Sun. It depicts nature and earth continuing on despite the rubble below. It’s also available in 2-D if you don’t have a pair of red/cyan glasses lying around.
Ok, so these two items below aren’t for sale anymore, but they were both such unbelievable items that I just had to share them with you!
Yoshiki Hayashi of Japan’s popular metal band, X Japan, could never bear to go on tour without his beloved “crystal piano.” (It even has his name engraved on the side.) But when the tsunami and earthquake hit his home country (him and his band and family members were actually there when it happened!), he auctioned off his plexi-glass piano, with 100 percent of the proceeds to go toward Japan relief aid. It went for more than $130,000!
British artist Mark Evans uses leather instead of canvas and a knife instead of a paintbrush. Following the disaster in Haiti, Evans donated a piece entitled RED – Furious Affection. To accurately achieve the right tone and mark on the leather, Evans has to use precise movements—which is why some pieces take several weeks, and even months, to produce. It was recently auctioned off at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.