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International immunisation campaign calls on graduate’s artistic talent

Alexia Sinclair’s work is featured in The Art of Saving a Life – a new, online campaign from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned to raise awareness of the importance of immunisation.

More than 30 world-renowned photographers, painters, sculptors, writers, filmmakers and musicians were commissioned to create art that tells the stories of vaccination.

Alexia’s work, Edward Jenner’s Smallpox Discovery, is a beautiful piece inspired by the Chinese characters for smallpox which means ‘heavenly flowers’. In her historical tableau style, this work features a scene depicting 18th Century doctor Edward Jenner administering a vaccination to a boy, surrounded by grass and blossoms. Dr Jenner’s pioneering work led to the eradication of smallpox in 1980.

“I wanted to create something that looked at smallpox, but did it in a way that didn’t repulse people,” Alexia told the New York Times.

A graduate of Master of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours Class I) from the University of Newcastle, Alexia’s work melds fine art and commercial art in delicate balance.

Alexia’s works are highly distinctive and recognisable – blending photography with fine art. She describes her works as ‘dark and seductive, baroque and symbolic’.


A behind the scenes look at the making of Sinclair’s ‘Edward Jenner’s Smallpox Discovery‘.

Each of the works in The Art of Saving A Life will be unveiled over the course of January 2015 are are designed to be shared digitally, alongside the hashtag #VaccinesWork

The artists featured in the campaign are:

  • 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
* Yegna, Ethiopia
  • Yiyun Li, United States
  • Yuna, Malaysia
  • Zim&Zou, France

Alexia is currently working on a new series entitled Rococo, which will be shown in Sydney in February. More of Alexia Sinclair’s work can be viewed on her website: alexiasinclair.com

Edward Jenner’s Smallpox Discovery © Alexia Sinclair 2015

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