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HIV/AIDS BILLBOARDS (article first published : 2000-08-23)

Artists for Human Rights Trust is a dedicated band of Durban-based artists and activists whose foresight and vision are widely acknowledged in the promotion of human rights education and culture. Currently underway is the HIV/AIDS Billboard & Print Portfolio 2000 Project, the first presentation of artwork on billboards for public consumption in South Africa.

Among the many projects and exhibitions which the Trust has presented to date are The Images for Human Rights Print Portfolio (1996) based on the South African Bill of Rights and, more recently, the UDHR International Print Portfolio (1999) commemorating the 51st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The recent XIII International AIDS Conference held in Durban provided local and international artists with a unique opportunity to contribute in their own way to the eventís objectives and issues. The theme of the Conference, which was carried through to the Amasiko official cultural programme, was Break the Silence.

Artists for Human Rights Trust have now embarked on an ambitious project entitled the HIV-AIDS Billboard & Print Portfolio 2000. This is a public art campaign in the form of billboards situated in strategic locations around the country. Presently, three billboards are already located in communities such as KwaMashu, Umlazi and Clermont and there are plans to mount other billboards in various communities throughout South Africa. Each billboard carries the work of South African and international artists who have been commissioned to promote the Aids 2000 message Break the Silence.

Among the 35 artists confirmed to date are eight international artists including Deryck Healey from the United Kingdom who has exhibited at the NSA Galleries. KZN is represented among the 27 South African artists by Yusuf Vahed, Gabsile Nkosi, Pascale Chandler, Mduduzi Xakaza, Sthembiso Sibisi, Wonderboy Nxumalo, Clive Pillay, Bronwen Findlay, Andries Botha, Trevor Makoba and Sister Sheila Flynn.

The project aims to empower young and community based artists and actively engages with community-based organisations such as the HIV-AIDS Womenís Support Group at King Edward VIII Hospital, Ningizimu School for the Disabled and the Artworks Trust.

The HIV-AIDS Billboard and Print Portfolio 2000 project can be sustained only through the continued support from the public and private sectors. Those who feel they can offer support are invited to contact the Project Administrator on (031) 204 2866/2096. More details from Artists for Human Rights Trust, Projects Committee, c/o Fine Arts Dept, Technikon Natal (Berea Campus), PO Box 953, Durban 4000.




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