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.
“I love the sense of community coming from COVID-19 restrictions, seeing the chalk drawings on the pavement, painted rocks and communal artworks in Canberra,” says Sophie, who also works as a youth social worker.
Her recent artwork is Canberra focused and she portrays the city’s sense of community through recognisable landmarks in her art.
“I grew up here, but this pandemic and lockdown have really helped me get a sense of community,” says Sophie. “I started by doing drawings on my windows and chalk drawings outside for lockdown fun. I was obsessed with art all through school and went to Canberra School of Art when I was 20 and studied printmaking. I wish I’d appreciated my time there more.”
Sophie’s strong feelings about getting the COVID-19 vaccination inspired her to display her artwork to encourage Canberrans to get the jab. She started by putting up the posters in Dickson.
“It’s my local shops, but I also posted at other shops around North Canberra,” she says. “I feel very strongly about vaccinations and it concerns me when I hear of people not wanting to get vaccinated. I wanted this poster to be a positive picture as I see nothing negative about wanting to look after yourself, your family and your community through vaccination.”
Lockdown has helped Sophie reconnect with her artistic nature.
“I think when you’re living in a bubble you appreciate things so much more,” she says. “All the beautiful parts of Canberra that are outside – you are forced to be outside which is really positive.”
During these past six months, Sophie has discovered a new medium of creating art on her iPad.
“I love working on my iPad for so many reasons,” she says. “It’s easy to pull it out of my bag – no setting up required, no cutting and pasting with scissors, or swapping pens.
“I also love that it works so well for my style. I like a very graphic look and I love patterns and layering.
“Right now, I see vaccination as such an important thing. It’s a priority in Canberra, Australia and the world.
“I’ve included some of Canberra’s iconic places. Telstra Tower is swapped with a COVID-19 jab, and I’ve depicted Parliament House, a bus shelter, the light rail, the Shine Dome, a crane because they are everywhere right now, and a roundabout sign as we have so many here.
“I also have another take on the Ken Behrens fun. I put Wally [from Where’s Wally?] in a Canberra setting to make fun of who Ken Behrens could be.”
Sophie has also created artworks to help her three-year-old son make sense of the changing environment during COVID-19.
“I worry about my son only seeing people in face masks,” she says. “In one image I put a facemask on one of his favourite television characters, Bluey, and once again put the image into a setting he knows well, Canberra.”