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'Thank you Skilled Keyworkers!' Illustrator Erin Aniker makes art to fundraise for the NHS

Most of us know illustrator Erin Aniker from the socio-political pieces she has done for The British Library, Amnesty International and Riposte amongst other notable institutions. Her latest body of work is a series of postcards, prints and colouring books for the NHS. The 'Thank you Skilled Workers' series is made up of one key poster artwork which the artist has been working on every day since lockdown and is now proud to release for a vital cause with all profits going to Masks for NHS Heroes.

Based in London, Erin's work draws inspiration from the 70’s feminist posters of See Red Women’s Workshop, Islamic patterns, her dual Turkish and British heritage and the inclusive community she's grown up with in East London. This series of work in particular is an attempt to bring some much needed colour, joy and positivity to these tough times, “I wanted to create something as a small gesture of support and thanks to our NHS and all the incredibly skilled keyworkers who have always kept us going and continue to during this pandemic, despite lack of PPE, pay rises and consistent cuts to Government funding."

Aniker tells us that she has been working on this poster design incrementally, every day during lockdown, "mostly to say thank you to keyworkers and also for my mental health, to channel my anxieties, worries and fears into something that felt useful, however small." NHS workers, corner shops, cleaners, bus and delivery drivers are just some of the keyworkers paid tribute to in Aniker’s postcards. Filled with a bustling sense of movement, electrical wires interconnected with transport lines and wave-like patterns on food cans handled by food workers. The poster is made up of a series of frames which are teeming with patterns and a sense of movement that links them together, highlighting how vital and interconnected skilled keyworkers are to society.

Words by Aisha Ayoade


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