Amref Health Africa Honors Kehinde Wiley with the Rees Visionary Award at ArtBall 2024


In a night dedicated to the celebration of African and Black art, Amref Health Africa (Amref), the leading healthcare organization on the continent, is set to honor the acclaimed African-American artist Kehinde Wiley at ArtBall 2024. Wiley, best known for his iconic portraits that reframe people of color in the settings reminiscent of Old Master paintings, will receive the prestigious Rees Visionary Award for his transformative contributions to the discourse surrounding African and Black art.

ArtBall 2024, scheduled for May 4th in Brooklyn, promises an evening of art, culture, and philanthropy. The event will feature a Contemporary African and Black art auction, entertainment, an open bar, and a culinary experience designed to integrate thoughtful food concepts. The highlight of the night will be the presentation of the Rees Visionary Award to Kehinde Wiley, recognizing his exceptional artistic practice and his founding of the Black Rock Global Arts Foundation, which aims to support new artistic creation and reshape the global discourse on Africa.

Expressing his gratitude for the recognition, Kehinde Wiley remarked, “Amref’s commitment to strengthening Africa’s health infrastructure is crucial, and I particularly want to acknowledge their programs in Senegal and Nigeria, two countries that are of significant importance to my journey. I am grateful to be recognized with the Rees Visionary Award for my artistic practice and my founding of Black Rock Global Arts Foundation, which is on a mission to support new artistic creation and to incite change in the global discourse about what Africa means today.”

Emily Correale, Director of Amref Health Africa, expressed her excitement about honoring Kehinde Wiley at ArtBall 2024. “ArtBall was started to not only raise funds for our healthcare work but also to celebrate the greatness of the African continent through art and culture,” she said. “Every year at the event, we honor an artist with the Rees Visionary Award. This year, we chose to honor Wiley and celebrate ‘Black Presence,’ aligning with his focus on reclaiming the presence of Black people in the world of fine art.”

Kehinde Wiley’s body of work has earned him global acclaim. Notably, he became the first African-American artist to paint an official U.S. Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2018, with former President Barack Obama selecting him for this honor. Additionally, Wiley’s founding of Black Rock Senegal, an artist-in-residence program in Dakar, Senegal, underscores his commitment to fostering creativity and cultural exchange.

Wiley’s accolades include the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts, Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, and France’s distinction of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. His work is featured in numerous public institutions worldwide, reflecting his profound impact on the contemporary art scene.

As Amref Health Africa continues its mission to empower African communities through accessible healthcare solutions, the recognition of Kehinde Wiley at ArtBall 2024 exemplifies the organization’s dedication to celebrating excellence in African and Black art while advancing health equity across the continent.

About Amref Health Africa (Amref):
Amref Health Africa is dedicated to empowering African communities by providing accessible, sustainable, and culturally sensitive healthcare solutions. With a committed team of predominantly African staff, Amref strives to improve the health and well-being of individuals and families throughout Africa. Through community-based initiatives, the organization aims to enhance healthcare access, promote preventive care, and foster a sense of ownership over health, ultimately creating a healthier and more resilient Africa for all. Last year, Amref reached over 31 million men, women, and children across the continent.

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