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ARTWORKS FOR AIDS (article first published : 2000-07-10)

Some 30 renowned artists from five southern African countries have joined together in a unique project to raise global awareness and funds to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is threatening the region. An exhibition of their works, ArtWorks for AIDS, will be shown for the first time at the XIII International Aids Conference in Durban. The exhibition is co-sponsored by Secure the Future, the US$100m commitment by the Bristol-Myers Squibb company to support women and children with HIV/Aids in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland and the Harvard AIDS Institute of Boston, Massachusetts.

After showing in US and Europe, the art works will be auctioned at a World AIDS Day event in Boston on November 30 and all proceeds will be used to provide further funding in the fight against HIV/AIDS in southern Africa.

“These leading contemporary African artists were enthusiastic about using their talents in creating awareness and hope for persons with HIV/AIDS,” says Marilyn Martin, director of the South African National Gallery in Cape Town and curator of ArtWorks for Aids. “The subject of HIV/AIDS is emotional and this project afforded them an opportunity to confront the pandemic from their unique perspective. “I have no doubt that ArtWorks for Aids will contribute significantly to unlocking resistance, denial and discrimination and to generating hope and healing.”

Kenneth E Weg, vice chairman of Bristol-Myers Squibb believes the exhibition is an innovative step towards bringing the realities of the HIV/AIDS crisis in southern Africa to the attention of caring people worldwide. “Our joint partnership of the exhibition and auction will help to channel the creative energies and prodigious talents of these artists into a positive contribution to combating the HIV/Aids pandemic in the region,” he says.

Dr. Max Essex, chair of the Harvard AIDS Institute which is working with Secure the Future on several projects in the region, says: "We deeply commend this collaborative effort by artists in southern Africa to draw attention to the epidemic that is sweeping across the region, with a particularly devastating impact on women and children."

Participating artists have illustrated their ideas ways that are abstract, enigmatic, didactic or hard-hitting and works include photography, linocuts, oil on canvas, clay, wood and needlework. Artists include Jane Alexander, Deborah Bell, Willie Bester, Lisa Brice, Norman Catherine, Trudi Dicks, David Goldblatt, the Kuru Art Project, Lallitha Jawahirilal, Noria Mabasa, Valentim Macie, Joseph Madisia, Neo Matome, Kagiso Pat Mautloa and Stephen Mogotsi. Also represented are Zwelethu Mthethwa, Velaphi Mzimba, Karel Nel, Sam Nhlengethwa, Wonderboy Thokozani Nxumalo, Steve Mashoabathe Rasehloho, Berni Searle, Johannes Mashego Segogela, Durant Sihlali, Penelope Siopis, Clive van den Berg, Hentie van der Merwe, Hercules David Viljoen and Sue Williamson. Austin Hleza’s work was provided posthumously and William Kentridge work is available for the auction only.




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