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This UNICEF art auction is raising money to help children affected by Covid-19

Stephen A Russell

Staring at the same old walls can get pretty boring as we lean into months stuck indoors. So why not brighten up your life (and your living room) by scoring some world-class art while helping folks get through this trying time in the process?

UNICEF Australia has assembled big-name Aussie and Chinese artists, asking them to contribute artworks to an online auction raising funds to tackle the global Covid-19 crisis. Called Love, Unmasked, it’s been organised by Vermilion Art and Bridging Hope Charity Foundation. The auction includes works by Caroline Rothwell and Tim Johnson, if you fancy nabbing yourself a piece that could just as easily hang in the National Gallery of Australia.

“Art is about empathy, something to address the disaster as it unfolds and something that can also express the human spirit that survives,” Johnson says. “I was very glad to have the opportunity to add to the huge amount of support that’s surfacing.”

Superstar Chinese artist Li Jin is also in the mix, though the current top bid for his admittedly gorgeous inked work is a tad out of reach for most of us: $79,000 at the time of publication. “This has been a momentous period, but nothing can stop the Spring flowers opening,” Li Jin says. “The world is full of hope and life carries on.”

Debbie Mackinnon said of her offering, Beyond the Shadows, “It’s a message of hope that there will be light at the end of these dark times. I find getting out in nature, even for my daily walk in the park, helps too. My heart goes out to children who need the help of UNICEF.”

Sun Ziyao’s Dino Project works are a bit more affordable, at around $500. Beyond its price tag, he says the value of art is to provide a truthful record of the present time. “This power will continue to impact the progress of mankind, which is also a crucial mission of art.”

For a more modest outlay, you could secure a Li Linlin sculpture at $350, a pair of Chufan Yan paintings at $250, or striking Yang Yongli ceramics at a fairly affordable $150.

UNICEF will direct the funds to projects like medical and personal protective equipment to keep health workers safe and providing children with inclusive, home-based learning during school closures.

Felicity Wever, director of international programs at  UNICEF Australia, said, “UNICEF uses art in education and in psychosocial support activities to support children to learn and to process stressful and traumatic experiences. So it seems appropriate that art is now being used to raise critical funds to support children, families and communities get through this unprecedented time.”

The Love, Unmasked auction runs until Saturday, April 4. Check it out here.

In the mood for more gallery time? Check out these great ways to experience art online.

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