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World Health Day 2021: Banksy to Bon Iver, The Artists Who Celebrated Frontline Medical Workers

Photo credit: Banksy

Photo credit: Banksy

From 2020, the health care workers world over are facing a mammoth task of controlling and curing the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 2,871,781 lives by now.

April 7 marks World Health Day which is a celebration dedicated to creating awareness of a specific health theme every year to highlight an area of concern for the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The day came into being after the first Health Assembly in 1948 and took into effect in 1950. Over the years, the international organisation has touched upon important health issues such as mental health, maternal health, pandemic, child care, and climate change. Various activities are organised on this day, which extends beyond the day itself and serves as an opportunity to focus worldwide attention on these important aspects of global health. This year, the theme for the World Health Day is eliminating health inequities among marginalised and minority communities the world over.

From 2020, the health care workers world over are facing a mammoth task of controlling and curing the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 2,871,781 lives by now. To honour and respect the contribution and sacrifices made by the health care workers world over, several artists have taken to art.

Last year, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston took to Twitter to dedicate an artwork to the constant dedication of doctors and posted a picture of a painting called Country Doctor. It is a work by the American painter Horace Pippin that depicts a rural physician fighting his way home through a punishing snowstorm. Captioning the post, the MFA wrote that Country Doctor, a painting that was made between 1933 and 1939, is also known as Night Call which shows a country doctor taking his horse and covered cart, presumably to tend to a patient. The caption further mentioned that Pippin’s painting quietly celebrated the dauntless and gallant doctor, just like they do now.

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British artist Banksy, who is known for his artwork that comes with a deep message, also dedicated artwork to the UK’s National Health Service workers last year. Banksy donated the artwork, titled Game Changer, to a Southampton hospital in May 2020, during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. In an accompanying note, the artist expressed his gratitude to the workers and hoped that the artwork brightens up the place a bit, even if it is in black and white.

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Meanwhile, in the field of music, American indie folk singer Bon Iver released Please Don’t Live in Fear, in May 2020 with all proceeds going to Direct Relief to help healthcare workers battling coronavirus.

Irish Rock band U2’s Bono dedicated a song called Let Your Love Be Known. The artist said that the song is for the Italians who inspired it, for the Irish and for the doctors, nurses, carers on the frontline.

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first published:April 07, 2021, 13:00 IST