Around this time in 2016, Amref Health Africa debuted a benefit auction and ArtBall event to raise funds for its health development programs in sub-Sahara Africa. The inaugural event which honored Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu with the Rees Humanitarian Award recorded a successful, well-attended launch. Works donated by over 30 artists from Africa and Diaspora were sold out at the live auction.

Riding on the success of the previous event, Amref is set to host its 2nd ArtBall event which will honor El Anatsui, a globally renowned contemporary artist from Ghana. The ArtBall will take place on May 6, 2017, at the Milk Studios in New York.  Alongside the award ceremony, there will be music by Dutch DJ, Alex Cruz, and DJ Cuppy from Nigeria, a performance by Young Paris, food by Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam, and an open bar.

This year’s auction, taking place on artsy.net features 48 artworks by 40 plus artists including Esther Mahlangu, Malick Sidibé, Wangechi Mutu, Victor Ehikhamenor, Tracey Rose, Armand Boua, Laolu Senbanjo, Olaniyi ‘Akirash’ Akindiya, Doba Afolabi, Boris Nzebo, Mederic Turay, Nengi Omuku, Soly Cissé, Nnenna Okore, Evans Mbugua, Dawn Okoro, and Paa Joe. Artworks in the auction start from $500 to $9000 and bidding closes on May 6 at 5 pm and 11 pm for the live and silent auctions respectively.

El Anatsui is awarded the Rees Visionary Award “for the way in which his work facilitates environmental advocacy, and elevates contemporary African art beyond Ghana, or Nigeria into a global cross-cultural exchange.” Honorary host for the evening is local New York gallerist, Jack Shainman, and the ArtBall Patron for 2017 is Dr. Massimiliano del Ninno, Director, Kyo Noir Gallery in Viterbo, Italy. 

Amref Health Africa is the largest health development NGO based in Africa. It has been a prominent force in the training of health workers in the sub-Saharan region and committed to improving health and strengthening health systems throughout the continent. The NGO works primarily with women and girls and aims to bridge the gap between communities, health systems, and governments.

In addition to the ArtBall being an event raising funds for health development projects such as community health worker training, maternal, newborn and child health, infectious disease (HIVI/AIDS, TB, Malaria, Ebola, etc.), sexual health, and eliminating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Africa, Amref uses the evening to get together with art buyers and supporters of African art and culture while providing an opportunity for the general public to collect some of the finest art pieces by top artists from the continent or the African Diaspora curated by independent curator Atim Annette Oton. 

Proceeds from the ArtBall will help raise funds for Amref Health Africa’s health programs that span across 35 countries and build the health systems of thousands of communities.

The Artball holds on May 6, 2017, from 8 pm to 11 pm in New York City. Tickets are available on Amrefusa.org/artball