Artists' collaboration spreads awareness on power of vaccines

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently introduced the Art of Saving a Life project, a collaboration of more than 30 world-renowned musicians, writers, filmmakers, painters, sculptors and photographers to show how vaccines have changed and continue to change the course of history.

The Art of Saving a Life will support the work of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. On Jan. 27 in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host an event seeking to solicit funding for Gavi to help reach an additional 300 million children with life-saving vaccines by the year 2020.

“From sculptures to paintings, from digital animations to music, artists have been inspired to capture the amazing power of vaccines,” Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said. “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.”

The Art of Saving a Life aims to offer an opportunity to feel the impact of immunizations and to encourage worldwide efforts to protect each and every child from life-threatening diseases.

“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,” Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said. “We hope this project will inspire conversations about the incredible value and importance of immunizations worldwide."

One painter is excited to be part of this project.

“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,” German artist and 2014 BP Portrait Award winner Thomas Ganter said. “My painting is a ‘monument’ honoring the unknown health worker — the everyday heroes who are on the frontlines of health care, delivering vaccines where they are needed most.”

Award-winning illustrator and author Sophie Blackall echoed Ganter’s sentiments.

“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,” Blackall said. “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.”

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