Monday, February 26, 2007

World Bank adopts works from CSN bird flu art project

by Desirae Clodfelter

Image: One of Gerardo Bravo's H5N1 art works

February 26, 2007 (CSN) -- The World Bank is now utilizing art produced by Gerardo Bravo while volunteering for the China Support Network (CSN) to raise awareness about the H5N1 virus, more commonly known as "Bird Flu." Bravo, an artist of Mexican heritage, used a combination of ancient and modern styles to create works of oil paint on gold leaf canvases. These depictions concentrate on prevention of risky behaviors that can lead to contraction of the disease and the threat of a global pandemic.

Bravo's work became a part of the World Bank Art Program after he contacted them about his avian flu series and offered to donate a piece to the Bank. Marina Galvani, the art Curator for the World Bank Art Program, says the works were chosen because of "the visual and emotional impact that Mr. Bravo's work has on staff is remarkable." She thinks they will have a positive impact on the people who view them and announced an installation of his entire series in the next few months. Galvani also said the World Bank Art Program believes "the use of artworks to talk about complex topics has been very successful in the past and we hope we will be able to educate people on a more pro-active preventive behavior on avian flu with the presentation of Mr. Bravo's series."

The project originated when CSN executive director Curry Kenworthy requested works from volunteer artists aimed at Bird Flu awareness and prevention. Kenworthy described Bravo as a "champion of the cause" who has produced numerous paintings. In response to the World Bank's adoption of Bravo's art, Kenworthy states that "I feel it is appropriate that his work is getting this kind of prominent attention."

The H5N1 virus has already left its imprint on Asia where millions of birds have been slaughtered and people continue to die by the dozens each year. It has spread across the world and has infected fowl in the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, and Africa. While the disease is easily transmitted among fowls, it has not adapted enough to transmit among humans as well. But many specialists think it is only a matter of time before a case comes along that would trigger a global pandemic.

To delay or prevent that scenario, CSN's bird flu project has fostered awareness through non-traditional methods, such as paintings. CSN has also drawn attention to lack of government transparency in China and other countries as an H5N1 risk factor.

For more information about Bravo's bird flu art works or for permission to use the works in avian influenza prevention campaigns, contact the World Bank. For more information about Gerardo Bravo and his other works, see his home page.

Image: example of Ken Keegan's bird flu art set

The CSN bird flu project also offers a set of art works from Ken Keegan (example shown above) to be used in noncommercial bird flu prevention materials. For high-resolution images, contact CSN or Ken Keegan. Keegan requires attribution and an image of the resulting use for his records.
Desirae Clodfelter is a CSN news writer and a freshman at Furman University politically active in social justice issues.

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