British artists design face masks for Covid-19 relief efforts

David Shrigley, Eddie Peake, Yinka Shonibare and Linder have designed limited-edition face masks for Covid-19 relief efforts.(Contemporary Art Society and Frieze London pic)

LONDON: The Contemporary Art Society has launched a crowdfunding campaign, in partnership with Frieze London, to support artists and museums across the UK in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Proceeds raised by the CAS Rapid Response Fund will be used to purchase artworks by British-based emerging artists and donate them to local museums and galleries, which are anticipated to reopen as early as July 4.

The Contemporary Art Society has also announced that funds will support artists, technicians, and art handlers, many of whom have seen their income streams decimated in reaction to the global health crisis.

While the CAS Rapid Response Fund has already raised £100,000 through various patrons, four British contemporary artists have been invited to design limited-edition face masks for donors.

Among them are visual artist David Shrigley, multidisciplinary artist Eddie Peake, Turner Prize-nominee Yinka Shonibare, and Linder, who is best known for her photography, radical feminist photomontage and confrontational performance art.

People who donate £35 will receive a face mask of their choice, while a set of all four will come with a donation of £120.

“My design perhaps acknowledges that our emotions are more difficult to see when we wear a mask. The fund will provide incredible support to emerging artists at a time when the art world entirely ground to a halt, but also the technicians, the assistants, the small galleries that do so much to support younger artists in turn,” Shrigley said of the crowdfunding campaign, which will raise funds until June 10.

In a similar effort, Ron Arad partnered earlier this May with the Ostro Fayre Share Foundation to raise funds for the National Health Service.

As part of the “Smile For Our NHS” campaign, the British designer has created a series of face masks decorated with portraits of famous artists like Picasso, Matisse, Shakespeare and Dalí.

“I wanted to do something to use the power of art to help in this terrible crisis. We all have a duty to use our creativity, resources and compassion however we can. Hopefully, this project will support our wonderful NHS, as well as provide some cheer and amusement,” Arad said of the initiative.