Bold new artworks to help end measles

Acclaimed illustrator Sophie Blackall unveils new exhibit inspired by her African journey.

News release

New York, Washington, 14 September 2012 – Sophie Blackall, acclaimed as a gifted illustrator for all ages, is unveiling a new project aimed at stopping the threat of measles. Her new exhibit is inspired by her recent journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where she learned firsthand about measles and its devastating consequences.

“In some parts of Africa, families don’t name their children until the threat of measles has past,” said Ms Blackall. “That threat disappears entirely when children are vaccinated, and a child can be vaccinated for a single dollar. I was so inspired by the dedication and passion of health workers and families in the Congo, and I hope their illustrated stories will inspire others to get involved. Together we can support their efforts and work to end measles, and let every child have a name.”

Ms Blackall’s new exhibit “Let Every Child Have a Name: The Road to a World Without Measles” is a series of evocative illustrations colored in her charming, insightful style. Viewers can join a pirogue as it travels to a remote village up the Congo river; watch health workers as they carefully map their communities for a measles campaign; and join children as they queue for hours with their families.

“Sophie Blackall’s beautiful illustrations from the DRC take us to the heart of the measles elimination story, which is really a story about all of us,” said Barbara Bentein, UNICEF’s representative in DRC. “The Measles & Rubella Partnership, of which UNICEF is a proud and active partner, has organized and supported many measles campaigns including in DRC. Sophie has rendered the very essence of what makes these campaigns so powerful – the passion in every community to protect its children and ensure that no child dies from preventable causes.”

“We encourage people worldwide to view Sophie’s exhibit, spread the word and use the power of her artwork to raise even more support for measles elimination,” said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of International Services at the American Red Cross. “It costs just a dollar to vaccinate a child. As Sophie’s illustrations show, that dollar can mean the difference between life and death for children in the countries still working to eliminate measles.”

Ms Blackall will unveil her exhibit next Tuesday the 18th of September at a partnership meeting of the Measles & Rubella Partnership in Washington D.C.

View Sophie Blackall’s new exhibit on the Measles & Rubella Partnership website from 18 September 2012.

See some of the artwork and hear Sophie speak about it:

At the Social Good Summit on Saturday 22 September. She’s scheduled to be on a panel at 315 pm.

On International Way at the 92nd Street Y’s Street Festival on Sunday, 23 September in the afternoon.

Journalists and bloggers who wish to speak with Sophie can reach her through the contacts below.

For partners, the Measles & Rubella Partnership can make the new exhibit available to chapters of the American Red Cross, Unicef, UN Associations, pediatricians, libraries, schools and teachers and any partners supporting the effort to eliminate measles and rubella.

About Sophie Blackall

Sophie Blackall is a Brooklyn-based Australian artist who has illustrated over twenty books for children, including the Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning Ruby’s Wish, Meet Wild Boars, which won a Founder’s Award from the Society of Illustrators and a BCCB Blue Ribbon Award, Big Red Lollipop, which was a New York Times Top Ten Picture Book for 2010, Pecan Pie Baby, which won a Horn Book honor in 2011, and the New York Times bestselling series, Ivy and Bean.

Blackall’s first book for adults, Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found (Workman Publishing; October 2011), began as a blog——in early 2009 and continues today as a series of paintings based on real, anonymous messages posted online by lovelorn strangers. Her editorial illustrations have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, TIME, and many others. Her poster commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit program can currently be seen in subway cars all over New York City.

She is honored to be collaborating with The Measles and Rubella Partnership on a series of illustrations to promote the elimination of measles through immunization.

Read more at the following:

The Measles & Rubella Partnership is a global partnership committed to ensuring no child dies from measles or is born with congenital rubella syndrome. Founded originally as the Measles Initiative in 2001, it’s led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Since 2001 the Partnership has supported 80 countries to deliver more than 1 billion doses of measles vaccine, helped to raise measles vaccination coverage to 85 percent globally and reduced measles deaths by 74 percent. These efforts have contributed significantly to reduction in child mortality as per Millennium Development Goal 4.

For more information, contact:

Hayatee Hasan, WHO, Geneva +41 79 500 6532,

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