Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Gates Foundation commissioned art to encourage vaccination

"The Art of Saving a Life is a collection of these stories, as told by more than 30 world-renowned photographers, painters, sculptors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians. The full collection of art will be unveiled over the course of January 2015." Here are a few of the projects:

Han Feng
Health Workers are Superheroes
Chinese artist and designer Han Feng knew that health workers had to have practical clothing, but she also wanted to insert a bit of glamour, to reflect their role as heroes to many. With a big nod to China’s famous rural community “barefoot doctors”, and recognizing that health workers often come from villages with limited resources, Han fashioned a jacket out of old Chinese military uniforms. Lined with an inner layer of cotton for comfort and ventilation, this utilitarian jacket with flamboyant tailoring not only has pockets positioned for the vital tools and equipment needed to deliver vaccines, it also features embroidery of imagery and text in childlike broad strokes, highlighting health workers’ passion and devotion to the cause and the hopes and future they bring to children and their family.

Alexia Sinclair
Edward Jenner’s Smallpox Discovery

Set in an 18th century English doctor’s surgery, this stunning portrait features Dr. Edward Jenner inoculating James Phipps, the first person to receive the smallpox vaccine. Dr. Jenner’s pioneering work in the late 18th century led to the eradication of smallpox in 1980. Alexia created and photographed the entire tableaux. The aristocratic woman in the center represents how smallpox did not discriminate, affecting the rich and poor alike. The many flowers throughout the piece symbolize the global impact of smallpox, and the skulls on every bottle the ephemeral nature of life and death.

Vik Muniz
Flowers - The Beauty of Vaccines

At first “Flowers” looks like a textured painting, or perhaps a fabric print. But peer in closer, and there emerge the tiny cells that create this image. As artist Vik Muniz writes: “The artwork is a microscopic pattern of liver cells infected with a smallpox vaccine virus. After infection, the virus turns the cells a reddish color which allows scientists to visualise infection.” The image was created in a laboratory using microfabrication techniques and a high-resolution microscope. Vik then digitally colors the images and makes wall-sized prints “that allow viewers to see both the individual cells, and the pattern as a whole.