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INSIDE OUT - A CELEBRATION OF LIFE (article first published : 2005-05-20)

Inside-out is a photographic journey of juxtaposition, bringing together the real and lived experience of young positive individuals merging with artistic representations of a society and world dealing with HIV and AIDS. The experimental use of colour and black and white photography; the use of daily objects as representations merges with the mood pictures of young positive faces challenging common and stigmatized perceptions.

In his first photographic exhibition, Abhi Indrarajan challenges the audience to interact with the reality of HIV as he has over the past five years. A native of Sri Lanka, he visited South Africa as a Volunteer at the XIII International AIDS Conference held in Durban in 2000. Struck by the people, city and country he has made Durban his home. Completing his Bachelor of Technology degree in Fine Arts at DIT, he remains involved in issues of HIV and uses his weapon of choice, the camera, to document experiences and representation.

His lens was used to capture the faces of young positive health promoters who work on more than 24 tertiary campuses across South Africa. These young people are creating awareness and educating on issues of HIV and are role models and pillars of support to other positive people on campuses. They challenge the stigma of being positive by often being the first openly positive persons at their institutions.

This Health Promoters project is run by DramAidE a local NGO that has used interactive mediums to engage audiences on issues of HIV, Gender and Life Skills. The Health Promoters project is funded by the US government and is on most tertiary institutions.

"My hope is that people see this as more than just an exposť of portraits of people and photographs but see that there is Life and that we should celebrate it even in a World with HIV. Celebrate life, youth and a positive attitude" says Abhi.

The work created from this exhibition will travel to tertiary institutions across the country and will contribute to Abhi completing his degree.

Inside-out - A Celebration of Life runs from June 7 to 15 at the DIT Art Gallery on the Durban Institute of Technology campus. It coincides with the Second South African AIDS Conference in Durban. The exhibition hopes to attract young people and art lovers as well as people working on HIV and AIDS both locally and internationally.

More information from DIT Art Gallery, Themba Shibase, on 031 204 2207 or 072 639 4020 or e-mail: thembas@dit.ac.za




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