Make Art, Stop AIDS

Daniel Goldstein, sculpture and artist
There are three sculptures in the hall with session rooms at the XVIII International AIDS Conference (IAC) which are bound to attract delegates. “Sometimes it gives you a way within, sometimes it gives you a way to express your emotion, sometimes it gives you a way to express what you are going through. It also gives other people a chance to know what people living with HIV are going through” said San Francisco based visual artist Daniel Goldstein. Read more

Sculpture 1: Medicine Mother, 2010
This piece was made following Daniel Goldstein’s 2009 visit to South Africa where he met with people living with HIV to discuss his Medicine Man sculpture and to learn about their concerns regarding the side effects of HIV medications. The sculpture consists of their medicine bottles, combined with few from the artist. The pregnant female figure is surrounded by beaded “spikes” made by South African crafters working in Durban. These brightly coloured spikes are coordinated with the words written on the white disc below the figure, which list the six major side effects of HIV medications (diarrhoea, nausea, lipoatrophy, skin rash, fatigue and neuropathy). Many of the drugs being distributed to HIV positive South Africans are drugs that were used in the United States fifteen years ago – particularly Stavudine, a drug associated with many unpleasant side effects.

Medicine Mother, 2010
Sculpture II: Invisible Man, 2010Inspired by the Eastern European emphasis of this year’s conference on concerns around HIV and injecting drug use (IDU), Invisible Man, is made of 864 syringes surrounding a human-shaped void. In this sculpture syringes embody both danger and hope. The piece can be viewed as resembling a pincushion or iron maiden or alternatively as rays of light emanating from the absent figure. It is a representation of what the artist likes to call “the presence of absence.” The invisible is made visible by the objects and forces that surround it.

Sculpture III: Medicine Man, 2007In the mid 1990s, Daniel Goldstein started to collect his HIV medicine bottles. In 2002, his collaborator, John Kapellas, did the same. Medicine Man, is made of their bottles as well as bottles belonging to their partners, both dead and alive. The iconic floating figure is surrounded by 166 syringes that create a mandorla, the body halo often seen in religious imagery. This sculpture was commissioned by MAKE ART/ STOP AIDS for recent exhibitions in Los Angeles and three cities in South Africa: Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“The Through Positive Eyes is a participatory photography project. We handed over cameras to people living with HIV (PLHIV), provide them training in photography and ethics of photography, and then they explore their own lives and their own journeys capturing these impressions through their camera” said Rajeev Varma, Director of Make Art/ Stop AIDS – India. “It is more important how they learn about themselves through this initiative and come to terms with what they have been through as they start photographing their lives, and start looking back at their lives on how they lived it” said Rajeev.

“This project has been an empowering process for the participants to get to know their ownselves and resolve issues that were lying unaddressed within themselves. One example is of a participant who was blind, and that participant said how amazing it was to use photography to express the experiences, perspectives or feelings one goes through” said Rajeev Varma.

Bobby Ramakant – CNS

Published in:
Citizen News Service (CNS), India/Thailand 
Elites TV News, USA