The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the launch of an initiative that brings together musicians, writers, filmmakers, painters, sculptors, and photographers from around the globe in support of the GAVI Alliance's vaccination efforts.
With the aim of sparking conversations about the value of vaccines, the initiative, The Art of Saving a Life, has enlisted more than thirty artists to illustrate the positive impact of vaccines through works of art. The pieces will be released online during the month of January, leading up to a funder conference in Berlin hosted by German chancellor Angela Merkel that aims to mobilize $7.5 billion in support of GAVI's efforts to immunize an additional three hundred million children against life-threatening diseases by 2020 and prevent up to six million deaths.
Artists representing more than two dozen countries will contribute works to the campaign, including GMB Akash (Bangladesh), Fatoumata Diabaté (Mali), Olafur Eliasson (Denmark/Iceland), Angélique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), Annie Leibovitz (United States), Playing for Change (United States), and Sebastião Salgado (Brazil). Participating artists will receive a nominal fee to cover their time and expenses.
"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 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, who heads the Global Development program at the Gates Foundation. "We hope this project will inspire conversations about the incredible value and importance of immunizations worldwide."