The rare Visual Aid charity silkscreen designed by 104 leading British artists

On the 13th of July 1985, a 16-hour super concert featuring the likes of David Bowie and Queen was broadcasted to a global audience raising over 100 million dollars for Ethiopian countries hit by famine. Though many are familiar with Live Aid, few are aware of the accompanying artwork Visual Aid.  We take a look at this limited edition featuring original artworks produced by Bridget Riley, David Hockney and Frank Bowling to name a few.  

Visual Aid for Band Aid, 1985, framed limited edition by Band Aid

The widespread famine that affected Ethiopia between 1983 to 1985 was seen as one of the worst humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Appalled by the disaster – which he viewed to be ‘nowhere on the political agenda’ – singer-songwriter-cum-political activist Bob Geldof decided to raise additional awareness by commissioning 104 artists to create original artworks for a limited edition print. We take a closer look at some of the artist's interpretations to the tragedy.

David Hockney's design which reads 'Love Conquers all peace on earth' is located in the bottom right hand corner

David Hockney’s design (which is situated in the bottom right hand corner) stands out amongst a kaleidoscope of shape and colour. 

Unlike the majority of his contemporaries who chose to fill their tiles, the influential British artist shrewdly used his space to deliver a simple statement: ‘Love Conquers all Peace on Earth’, using only his signature red and green colour palette.

By leaving the majority of the canvas blank, Hockney draws attention to the peace statement which contrasts with the surrounding, much busier images.

For his interpretation of the brief, Howard Hodgkin (whose design can be found to the left above Hockney’s) chose to layer hues of orange, yellow and blue against a green background. 

Some have suggested the oval brown shape that engulfs the vibrant colours symbolises the widespread famine that destroyed millions of lives. 

British illusion artist Patrick Hughes artists Patrick Hughes added a skeleton on a black background to the design (second to the left third row down)

British illusion artist Patrick Hughes produced a more literal interpretation with an animated skeleton (third row down, third from the left).

It's been implied that the skeleton, set against a chilling black background, represents the death of over 1 million Ethiopian people. By exaggerating the skeleton's red lips and white-rimmed eyes similar to the controversial children’s toy, Golliwog, Hughes adds an additional warning not to revert to harmful racial stereotypes.

Royal Academician Terry Stetch included two yellow and orange figures embracing bottom second from the left

Other artists produced figurative designs that spoke to the harsh reality of the crisis. Royal Academician Terry Stetch (bottom, second from the left) produced an unsettling interpretation of two figures embracing. 

Although Stetch uses cheerful marigold yellow and burnt orange tones, the thick black lines of the emaciated forms serve to reflect the untold hardships of millions of people’s daily plight.

English painter and printmaker Patrick Caulfield added a message of hope with a black and white candle tip

Many artists produced messages of encouragement. English painter and printmaker Patrick Caufield’s screen print features the tip of a white burning candle on a black background, offering a universal symbol of hope.

Collectively, these artworks, which are each accompanied by the respective artist’s signature in the margin, represent an extraordinary piece of political art. 

Visual aid is accompanied by a grid of squares featuring the artists names that can be used for reference when studying the print

Produced in a run of 500 in 1985 by printmaker and publisher, Coriander Studio, Visual Aid raised £250,000 to aid famine relief across Africa.

Our rare edition of Visual Aid, which is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, also includes a grid of squares featuring the artists names that can be used as a reference for studying the rest of the artworks on the print.

A truly collectible piece, it is archivally mounted and comes presented in a bespoke wooden frame, hand stained with black paint in our Sussex workshop. 

Related stories

spotlight Meet painter and printmaker David Price

The Margate-based artist talks to curator Becca Pelly-Fry about his fascination with brash, colourful ‘non-art’, and the edition he’s made for our Curated Editions collection, New Mythologies.

Suggested filters

spotlight Ele Pack’s new beginnings and emotion-filled abstracts

Upon the release of our latest collection with artist Ele pack, we caught up with her to discuss her recent relocation to Derbyshire, and the new direction of her work.

Suggested filters

spotlight The rare Visual Aid charity silkscreen designed by 104 leading British artists

Join us as we delve deeper into the significance of the rare silkscreen print featuring original artwork tiles produced by rock stars of the British art world David Hockney, Frank Bowling, Howard Hodgkin, and Bridget Riley to name a few.  

spotlight Rare: David Hockney’s 1972 Threepenny Opera poster

This extremely rare promotional theatre poster was designed by the Bradford artist in 1972. Learn more about its creation and the subversive characters it depicts.

spotlight David Hockney’s collectible exhibition posters

Discover the collectible exhibition posters Hockney designed for Tate, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Opera and more.

spotlight ‘I love you so’, 1958, by Andy Warhol

Long before he created silkscreens of movie stars and soup cans that catapulted him onto the world stage, Warhol drew many whimsical illustrations for prestigious New York magazines. Learn more about his lesser-known but much-loved ‘I love you so’ artwork.

spotlight Picasso’s love affair with linocuts and lithography at Imprimerie Arnéra

When the famed Spanish artist moved from Paris to Provence in the 1940s, he met talented printmaker Hidalgo Arnéra. Together, they pushed the boundaries of the medium, turning it into a true art form.

spotlight Meet London artist and fashion designer Blue Farrier

We catch up with her to discuss her unique artistic practice and the new signed limited edition prints she’s produced with us.

spotlight Miró’s lithographic evolution at the acclaimed Atelier Mourlot

On Joan Miró's frequent visits to Paris in the 1930s, he developed a close friendship with master printmaker Fernand Mourlot, and became a permanent fixture at the world-renowned lithographic studio in Paris. 

spotlight Publishing highlights 2022: an interview with our Founder, Gyr King

The past year has been filled with a range of exciting new King & McGaw launches. We asked our founder and CEO to reflect on his 2022 highlights and what’s on the horizon.

spotlight Meet Brighton knitwear and crochet artist Kate Jenkins

Learn more about her fascinating artistic practice and the newly-available limited edition knitted paint tubes she’s created in collaboration with us.

Suggested filters

spotlight Bella Freud’s prints go on display in her Marylebone store

The celebrated designer’s new prints are now on display at her beautiful store in Marylebone. Here are a few highlights from the launch event. 

spotlight The beautiful game: famous football prints

Learn about the stories behind the famous football prints and posters in our collection.

Suggested filters

spotlight RARE: Four original 1994 Pulp Fiction posters 

Join us as we dive into the ‘Tarantinoverse’, exploring some of our favourite characters depicted in these original ‘Pulp Fiction’ posters, originally displayed in contemporary movie theatre foyers

spotlight Meet celebrated designer Bella Freud

We catch up with Bella at King & McGaw to discuss the stories behind her most famous designs and the new special edition prints she’s produced with us.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Be the first to hear about our new collections, limited edition launches, and enjoy artist interviews.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.

Contact us: customer care
Email us
01273 511 942
Mon-Thurs, 9 am - 5 pm Fri 9 am - 2 pm

All art prints and images on this website are copyright protected and belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved.