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NEW HIV/AIDS BILLBOARDS IN DURBAN (article first published : 2003-06-10)

Taking yet another step to bolster the dialogue around the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Artists for Human Rights Trust (AHRT), www.ahr.org.za, is flighting two more of its Break the Silence HIV/AIDS billboards. The 3m x 12m billboards are standing in Umlazi and KwaMashu.

The Umlazi billboard on the east side of Umlazi station shows Deryck Healy’s work Think First together with the AIDS ribbon and the HIV/AIDS awareness message Break the Silence. The artwork is part of AHRT’s Break the Silence fine art print portfolio.

Said Healy: “In creating an artwork for the campaign against HIV/AIDS, I endeavoured to interrelate a shared responsibility of ‘cause and effect’ by representing in a strong black outline emblems combining both male and female sexuality over a cloudy image of a skull. The bright red blood spot is a metaphor emphasising the connection between the sexual act rooted in physical circumstances and knowledge that unprotected sex is a danger to life.” Healy is a South Africa-born artist living in the UK.

The second billboard is in Malandela Road, KwaMashu, and carries the print Tricycle of the Forgotten by Peruvian artist Martin Moratillo. Said Moratillo: “AIDS is … spreading with ferocious rapidity and destroying men, women, children, families and whole societies. AIDS is not just about sexuality: it’s a matter of education, information and values. Art will not change the world, but it is a perfect medium to call for good sense, tolerance and brotherhood.”

Both billboards have been sponsored by Shepstone & Wylie attorneys with national funding organisation Business Art SA (BASA) as part of the AHRT’s art and advocacy programme.

The billboard project is part of AHRT’s long-term ‘art as advocacy’ campaign to instil a sense of moral ownership in society – of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and of those infected and affected by the disease. The billboards intend to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and break the stigma surrounding the disease, as well as greater sense of responsibility by society towards HIV/AIDS.

The campaign has been endorsed by a number of leading HIV/AIDS organisations and personalities, including Peter Piot (Head of United Nations Aids), Prof. Jerry Coovadia (Head of Dept. of Paediatrics and Child Health, Nelson R. Mandela Medical School, University of Natal), Dr. Ben Ngubane (Minister of Dept. of Art, Culture, Science and Technology), and Mr. Clem Sunter, Anglo American, Chairman’s Fund and others.

Towards a healthy and secure future in the spirit of Ubuntu, (Zulu for “One exists because of the other”), businesses can be partners in the fight against the pandemic for a sustainable time-period. An organisation sponsoring a billboard can intelligently and cost-effectively promote its corporate image and address social responsibility at the same time. The billboard campaign, aimed at reaching society at large, broadly engages the present and future workforce and client base of South African corporations.

More details on e-mail: ahr@dit.ac.za or visit http://www.ahr.org.za




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