Grayson Perry, Jean Jullien and Aida Muluneh select WaterAid Art of Change finalists

A public vote will decide the winner among artists from around the world, who have all depicted the preciousness of water and the importance of handwashing for a campaign to be presented to governments in October.

Date
11 August 2020
Reading Time
3 minute read

WaterAid has announced the 12-strong shortlist for its Art of Change competition, selected by an all-star panel comprising Grayson Perry, Jean Jullien, Aida Muluneh and Russell Tovey. The shortlisted artists hail from across the globe, spanning Jakarta, Panama City, Brussels, Varese, Lille, Lusaka, Montreal and London, all depicting the preciousness of water and the importance of handwashing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The winner will be chosen by a public vote, open now until 10 October.

The shortlist comprises Irina Bogdan (who has two artworks in the running), Cecilia Castelli, Mulenga J Mulenga, Carlos Chaverra Perez, Jess Mountfield, Katerina Croydon Veleslavov, Léonie Macquet, Nikki Miles, Cindy Salim, Katie Cegoni and Holly Thomas.

The competition invited artists to create poster artworks for the charity’s campaign, urging world leaders to double their investment in providing clean water and hygiene for all. Three billion people worldwide have nowhere to wash their hands with soap and clean water at home, and one in four health centres lack these facilities on site. The winning poster will be announced on Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2020.

One of the shortlisted artists Mulenga J Mulenga, from Lusaka in Zambia, depicted A Puzzle That Can Be Solved. Of explaining her piece, she says: “Handwashing is the first line of defence against Covid-19, yet 785 million people have no access to clean water worldwide. Women and children are the most vulnerable because, in most households, they travel long distances to access clean water. As a result this has caused a lot of health problems and social economical challenges. A tap, a borehole, can save a life especially the most vulnerable.”

Above

Irina Bogdan

London-based illustrator Jess Mountfield says of her artwork Turn on the Tap: “I drew this while sitting with my grandfather who was dying of suspected coronavirus. His whole life was about positivity and kindness... Things don't have to be as they are – we really can enact change. And it is our duty to do so.”

One of Irina Bogdan’s artworks shows water as a valuable piece of jewellery, “yet it shouldn’t be a luxury. For any human being,” the artist comments. Katerina Croydon Veleslavov’s more graphical piece uses repeated imagery to reinforce the message of consistent handwashing being vital to the fight against Covid-19. While Nikki Miles’ piece shows a hand signalling ‘stop’ asking viewers “to stop and think about their privilege,” and then take action.

Judge Aida Muluneh says in a statement: “Creativity and art are powerful forces for change in the world. As a photographer working in Ethiopia, my vision has been to create art that courageously challenges cliches and portrays the strength, beauty and heritage of Africa and its women. Clean water and good hygiene are vital in preventing the spread of deadly diseases like coronavirus, yet millions of people are living without these basics. Together, we can call on governments to take urgent action to address this injustice.”

Vote for your favourite artwork here.

GalleryWaterAid Art of Change shortlist

Above

Katerina Croydon Veleslavov

Above

Nikki Miles

Above

Mulenga J Mulenga

Above

Irina Bogdan

Above
Left

Léonie Macquet

Right

Katie Cegoni

Above

Katie Cegoni

Above
Left

Holly Thomas

Right

Cindy Salim

Above

Cindy Salim

Above
Left

Carlos Chaverra Perez

Right

Cecilia Castelli

Above

Cecilia Castelli

Hero Header

Jess Mountfield

Share Article

About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent the last ten years working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on news@itsnicethat.com.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.