Art For Change: Changing lives through the power of the arts

8th November 2021

By Nadia Shaglina

Before joining Comic Relief, I have spent six great years at Christie’s auction house managing relationships with its top collectors. Upon arrival at Comic Relief two years ago, I quickly learned that the charity has been funding arts-based projects that are tackling serious issues such as homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health for many years, helping to improve the wellbeing of individuals and communities in the UK and across the world. I knew that it was time to open the conversation about the role that Comic Relief plays in bringing about change through the power of the arts. It was time to celebrate ART FOR CHANGE.

Earlier this year, Comic Relief partnered with Phillips auction house to open the dialogue and auction art to raise money for projects that change lives. Art For Change became a selection of four artworks generously donated by contemporary artists Michael Armitage, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and Caroline Walker, whose work addresses, in a variety of ways, the issues that Comic Relief’s social change strategy is helping to tackle.

Caroline Walker, who also participated in a live discussion on the importance of the arts that preceded the auction, explained her connection: “The subject of my paintings are the lives of women, and often those who are less visible in society because of their personal circumstances or the job they do. When I was approached about Art For Change, I was happy to donate a painting as the proceeds will have a direct impact on women and their families living difficult lives in the UK”.

The support and generosity that the artists and their representing galleries and teams showed Comic Relief was humbling and inspirational. Art For Change, offered in Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale in London on 14th October, raised a brilliant £181,000 from the sale of the art and a kind donation from Phillips. The proceeds from the sale of these works will enable Comic Relief to invest in organisations in the UK and across the world, including those that harness the power of the arts for social change. 

Art For Change is Comic Relief’s first concerted effort to engage the art world with our social change work. It has allowed us to start a conversation about how the arts can change lives, one we intend to continue and amplify.

This lovely short film was created to celebrate Art For Change watch here(opens in new window)

Heartfelt thanks go to all involved in this project, in particular the fantastic artists and their representatives:

  • Michael Armitage

  • Tracey Emin

  • Antony Gormley 

  • Caroline Walker

White Cube Gallery(opens in new window)

Stephen Friedman Gallery(opens in new window)

Our auction partner Phillips(opens in new window), and our consultants Dunning & Partners(opens in new window)