New National Association For The Visual Artists Campaign Gives Visual Artists A Shot At Recovery

New National Association For The Visual Artists Campaign Gives Visual Artists A Shot At Recovery
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

The National Association for the Visual Artists (NAVA) launched a new campaign, ‘Sit For An Artist’, urging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to support Australia’s creative recovery.

The visual arts sector is in crisis. NAVA’s ‘Sit For An Artist’ campaign has been created in response to the long-term impacts of the pandemic on visual artists, galleries, organisations and arts workers with exhibitions and commissions cancelled across the country.

Recent research undertaken by NAVA* revealed that 81 per cent of visual artists earned less than $25,000 in the 2020-21 financial year, while 50 per cent reported an income decline of up to 100 per cent.

Penelope Benton, co-director, NAVA (NSW) said, “COVID and the lockdowns have decimated the visual arts. Art making has dropped by nearly 40 per cent as artists have had to find work in other areas to survive, and over half of our sector is concerned about the future. The gap in the visual arts sector will be felt for years, and we fear a generation of artists may be lost.”

The ‘Sit For An Artist’ campaign is a play on the age-old concept of sitting for an artist for a portrait, but this time NAVA is asking Australians to sit for a COVID vaccination.

Fronting the campaign are artists Thea Perkins, an Arrernte and Kalkadoon woman (pictured) with an emerging painting and installation practice; Dean Cross, a multi-disciplinary artist of Worimi descent; Wendy Sharpe, a major Australian figurative artist; and Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, a Sri-Lankan born contemporary artist with works held in galleries across the country.

Nick Garner of Playground Films/ArtVid produced the campaign. He said, “visual art can largely go unnoticed, but it affects every one of us in some way. At the heart of the creative for NAVA’s vaccination campaign is a flip on a simple idiom: to sit for an artist.”

“It speaks to both the urgency of the problem and the need to connect with the community, to inspire the viewer in our way out of here. A lot of heart went into bringing this campaign to life, to get people vaccinated, so our artists can get back to what they do best: bringing us together.”

Wendy Sharpe said, “We all want to go to galleries. We want to go to concerts. We want to go to museums. We want to go to restaurants. We want to meet other people. We don’t want to be locked up forever. So get vaccinated.”

“Art is one of the critical ways Australians tell our stories, understand our world, and reflect on our collective experiences,” said Mimi Crowe, co-director, NAVA (SA).

“In response to every national disaster, hardship and crisis, the arts are at the front of efforts to raise funding, awareness and hope. Art is a vital part of our nation’s recovery.”

Let’s all do our bit for Australia’s visual arts sector by supporting NAVA’s campaign.


Creative Agency: Atypical                                                                                             Creative: Tim Chenery                                                                                                      Creative: David Barker                                                                                                    Production Company: Playground / ArtVid                                                                Director/DOP: David Barker
Producer: NIck Garner
Editor: Marianne Khoo                                                                                                         Sound Production: Pete Jones @ RanRun                                                               Photographer: Lauren Orrell

Location: National Art School

  • SOURCE: Pulse Survey data for 20210-21. 1,224 artists, arts workers and arts managers.
  • NAVA has expressed its sincere thanks to the artists, organisations and individuals who provided support for this campaign, including the Australia Council for the Arts and National Art School.

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