IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Artist Daniel Vernon Provides Commentary on Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 Outbreak through his Art

Põneke / Wellington-based writer and illustrator Daniel Vernon (@yeehawtheboys on Instagram) has gained attention for his scintillating and insightful comics this week depicting Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 response.

After 102 days of no community transmission of the virus, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced four positive cases on Tuesday 11th August, and subsequently the Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland area (the location of the outbreak) moved to Level 3 lockdown restrictions, with the rest of the country moving to Level 2.

Vernon’s sarcastic wit depicts tropes of kiwis’ activities under the stay-at-home order in his series Humans of Lockdown. His insight into the archetypes that we all know, along with his more recent, sincere depiction of how media portrayal can hurt the victims of the COVID-19 outbreak, shows he has a real affinity for the human condition and writing characters with depth — no doubt helped by his background in writing. His 2018 theatre show Saturday Night Vignettes sold out its whole run and was met with rave reviews.

But if that’s not enough reason to love him — Vernon is also using his talents for good, in a number of ways. He’s donated profits from commissions to Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland’s #saveourvenues campaign, raising money for music venues struggling due to the lockdown, and urging people to vote in the upcoming election on October 17th.

Check him out on Instagram here.

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