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Graphic design helps women: BBH’s Aine Donovan explains how

Today is International Women’s Day, and to coincide BBH production director Aine Donovan has put on a graphic art exhibition and auction in aid of women’s charity Refuge called She Lights Up The Night , co-curated by Caroline Pay. Here, she tells us how she set about creating the show, and why it needs to happen.

“She Lights Up The Night started when Caroline Pay, the deputy ECD at BBH, wanted to turn her office into a gallery showcasing graphic artists. Almost immediately we realised we could turn this into an opportunity to support Refuge, a charity BBH is affiliated with. Domestic violence is a huge social issue. In the UK two women are killed by a current or former partner every single week. That is a terrifying statistic. Refuge provides a vital safe haven for women and children who need it the most. We decided to invite ten contemporary graphic artists to take over Caroline’s office and in doing so, over the course of a year, create original artworks to be auctioned by Christies for Refuge.

In terms of the curation we were looking for bright, bold, colourful typography and illustration. We found a lot of our artists on Instagram. We would tag each other in the posts of artists we knew and really liked. So there were many excited emoticons floating around in the curation of this particular project! Graphic artists have really embraced Instagram in the most inspired way. They use it as their own personal publishing platform and, as a commissioner of photography and illustration, it’s a fantastic resource to discover new artists and keep up to date with the ones I already know well.

When we started talking to the artists we didn’t give them a creative brief, we just wanted them to work on something they had been interested in exploring. When we approached Lakwena Maciver she mentioned she had wanted to work with light, so we gave her the space to develop that, and she created her beautiful She Lights Up The Night’ light box, which became the title for the whole project.

The artists have been so incredibly generous and working together to raise awareness for Refuge just feels like the right thing to be doing. As the artworks were being created we realised that this exhibition was forming a theme, and not just aesthetically. When I look at the work I think it encourages hopefulness, cheerfulness and strength. All the work is optimistic; which we felt drew parallels with Refuge. The graphic art community perfectly encapsulate that same sense of positivity."

If you want to support Refuge and pick up an original art piece email us at auction@bbh.co.uk. Limited-edition prints are being sold through online shop They Made This.

The She Lights Up The Night exhibition and auction is at Christies South Kensington this Thursday 10 March at 7pm. On show are works by Charlie Patterson, Supermundane, Lakwena Maciver, Camille Walala, Ana Montiel, Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, David Shillinglaw and Arlen Figgis, Hattie Stewart, Anthony Burrill, Morag Myerscough, Theresa Bates and Hilma Sassa.

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light

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Paul Plews: She Lights Up the Light