Local artists’ colorful posters capture Canberra and encourage vaccination

Artist Sophie Cazabon has put up her posters in outback Canberra to encourage vaccination against COVID-19. Photo: Jeremy Jones.

Canberra’s sense of community during the COVID-19 lockdown has inspired local artist Sophie Cazabon to decorate the streets of Canberra with homemade posters encouraging people to get vaccinated.

“Love the sense of community that comes from the COVID-19 restrictions, seeing the chalk drawings on the pavement, painted rocks and communal artwork in Canberra,” said Sophie, who also works as a youth social worker.

Her recent artworks focus on Canberra and she portrays the city’s sense of community through recognizable landmarks in her art.

“I grew up here, but this pandemic and lockdown really helped me get a sense of community,” says Sophie. “I started drawing drawings on my windows and chalk drawings outside for lockdown fun. Obsessed with art throughout my school days, I entered the Canberra School of Art when I was 20 and studied printmaking. I wish I had appreciated my time there more.”

Sophie is strong feelings about getting the COVID-19 vaccination inspired her to display her artwork to encourage Canberrans to get the shot. She started putting up the posters in Dickson.

Poster art by Sophie Cazabon on iPad

Sophie Cazabon has used her iPad to create colorful prints. Photo: Sophie Cazabon.

“It’s my local stores, but I’ve also posted at other stores in North Canberra,” she says. “I feel very strongly about vaccinations and it worries me when I hear that people don’t want to be vaccinated. I wanted this poster to be a positive image because I don’t see anything negative about wanting to take care of yourself, your family and your community through vaccination.”

Lockdown has helped Sophie reconnect with her artistic nature.

I think living in a bubble makes you appreciate things so much more,” she says. “All the beautiful parts of Canberra that are outdoors – you are forced to be outdoors, which is really positive.”

Over the past six months, Sophie has discovered a new medium for creating art on her iPad.

“I love working on my iPad for so many reasons,” she says. “It’s easy to take it out of my bag – no setting up required, no cutting and pasting with scissors, or changing pens.

“I also love that it fits my style so well. I like a very graphic look and I like patterns and layering.

“Right now I think vaccination is so important. It is a priority in Canberra, Australia and the world.

“I’ve added some of Canberra’s iconic spots. Telstra Tower has been swapped with a COVID-19 jab, and I’ve pictured it Parliament House, a bus shelter, the light rail, the Shine Dome, a crane because they are everywhere now, and a roundabout like we have so many here.

“I also have a different take on the fun of Ken Behrens. I put Wally [from Where’s Wally?] in a Canberra setting to poke fun at who Ken Behrens might be.”

Sophie has also created artwork to help her three-year-old son understand the changing environment during COVID-19.

“I worry that my son only sees people with face masks,” she says. “In one image, I put a face mask on one of his favorite television characters, Bluey, and repositioned the image in a setting he knows well, Canberra.”

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