The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today introduced The Art of Saving a Life project, a new initiative that brings together more than 30 world-renowned musicians, writers, filmmakers, painters, sculptors and photographers to demonstrate how vaccines continue to positively change the course of history.
The Art of Saving a Life is designed to support the critical work of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance by spurring conversations about the value of vaccines. On January 27 in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a high-level event seeking to mobilize funding for Gavi to help reach an additional 300 million children with life-saving vaccines by 2020. The conference will bring together world leaders, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector and other partners who will show their support for Gavi, and will feature select pieces of The Art of Saving a Life artwork.
“From sculptures to paintings, from digital animations to music, artists have been inspired to capture the amazing power of vaccines,” said Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley. “I’m looking forward to seeing a large part of this work in Berlin, where we will be calling on global leaders to stand together and pledge the necessary funds to immunize 300 million children by 2020, which will prevent up to 6 million deaths. This is a remarkable mix of both the art and science of saving a life.”
Vaccines are one of the greatest advancements in the history of medicine. They have saved hundreds of millions of lives and resulted in better health and opportunity for families everywhere. Despite this great progress, one in five children today do not have access to the life-saving vaccines they need. The Art of Saving a Life offers an opportunity to hear, see and feel the tremendous impact of immunization and to energize global efforts to protect every child from life-threatening diseases. The art pieces will be released throughout January 2015.
“The Art of Saving a Life showcases the remarkable history of vaccines, their impact saving lives today, and their potential to save the lives of even more children from infectious diseases,” said Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We hope this project will inspire conversations about the incredible value and importance of immunizations worldwide."
Artists representing two dozen countries are participating in the project and were encouraged to use their skill and creativity to develop art that was both a personal reflection and interpretation of their chosen vaccine-related story. The artists received a nominal fee to cover their time and operational expenses.
“Without the tireless and brave commitment of health workers, millions of children and families in the developing world would have no access to health services,” said German artist and 2014 BP Portrait Award winner Thomas Ganter. “My painting is a ‘monument’ honoring the unknown health worker—the everyday heroes who are on the frontlines of healthcare, delivering vaccines where they are needed most.”
“Diseases that are entirely preventable, like measles and pneumonia, still take the lives of hundreds of children every day—especially in hard to reach, remote areas,” said award-winning illustrator and author Sophie Blackall. “My illustrations for The Art of Saving a Life depict the challenges of reaching children in ‘all corners of the globe’ while celebrating successes in immunizations, and appealing for global support so that we may continue to help these children live long, fulfilling lives.”
The artists participating in The Art of Saving a Life include:
Alexia Sinclair, Australia
Angélique Kidjo, Benin
Annie Leibovitz, United States
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigeria
Christoph Niemann, Germany
Darryl Cunningham, United Kingdom
David Chancellor, United Kingdom
Deborah Kelly, Australia
Evgeny Parfenov, Russia
Fatoumata Diabaté, Mali
Francisco Toledo, Mexico
Frank Viva, Canada
Geraldine Brooks, Australia/United States
Glen Wexler, United States
GMB Akash, Bangladesh
Graciela Iturbide, Mexico
Han Feng, China/United States
Katerina Athanasopoulou, Greece
Katharine Dowson, United Kingdom
Lang Lang, China
Luc Jacquet, France
Mary Ellen Mark, United States
Mauro Perucchetti, Italy
Mia Farrow, United States
Olafur Eliasson, Denmark/Iceland
Playing for Change, United States
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, India
Sebastião Salgado, Brazil
Socorro Acioli, Brazil
Sophie Blackall, Australia/United States
Thomas Ganter, Germany
Vik Muniz, Brazil
Yiyun Li, United States
More artists will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information about the project, artists, and to view the artwork as it is released, visit www.artofsavingalife.com.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.