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posted Thursday, November 26, 2020 - Volume 48 Issue 48
Visual AIDS commissions six international filmmakers to explore the impact of HIV/AIDS to commemorate World AIDS Day
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Visual AIDS commissions six international filmmakers to explore the impact of HIV/AIDS to commemorate World AIDS Day

NEW YORK (November 16, 2020) - Visual AIDS, the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS and HIV awareness through dialogue, art exhibitions, and public forums, announced its virtual "Day With(out) Art: Transmissions" launch event [on] November 30, as a prelude to World AIDS Day on December 1.

An annual event that began in 1989, [the] "Day With(out) Art" will [this year] transition to a digital model as a result of COVID restrictions and bring together artists working across the world: Jorge Bordello (Mexico), Gevi Dimitrakopoulou (Greece), Las Indetectables (Chile), Lucía Egaña Rojas (Chile/Spain), Charan Singh (India/UK), and George Stanley Nsamba (Uganda) in a livestream premiere of new short films about the divergent and overlapping experiences of people living with HIV. On November 30, the filmmakers will unite in a free virtual panel discussion moderated by Jih-Fei Cheng.

As this year's programming gives faces and personalized stories to the global AIDS epidemic, the launch event provides a compelling platform for voices from beyond the United States to discuss a broad range of subjects[, from] the erasure of women living with HIV in South America to ineffective Western public health campaigns in India, and the realities of stigma and disclosure for young people in Uganda.

George Bordello's Ministry of Health exposes adverse effects of pharmaceuticals on four men living with HIV in the city of Tlaxcala, Mexico, through a silent and horror movie aesthetic, while Gevi Dimitrakopoulou's This is Right: Zak, Life and After, is a sobering portrait of Zak Kostopoulos, a well-known queer AIDS activist who was publicly lynched in Athens in 2018. The collective Las Indetectables will premiere the provacative Me Cuido (I take care of myself/I'm careful) to explore the relationship between colonial paradigms of health, religious guilt, and the stigmatization of people living with HIV [under] Chile's capitalist and neoliberal regime, while Lucia Egaña Rojas' Female Disappearance Syndrome challenges gendered representations of HIV and AIDS, and the impacts of "female disappearance syndrome," the erasure of women living with HIV from conversations about the epidemic. Charan Singh's They Called it Love, But Was it Love? depicts scenes from the lives of those who have been reduced to a "risk group" by public health campaigns - and their search for fulfillment and love. Lastly, George Stanley Nsamba's Finding Purpose reflects on the experience of producing a film about teens born with HIV in Uganda and the pervasive stigma that surrounded the project.

Each film will be available in in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Greek, Turkish, Portuguese, and Polish.

Originating as a response to the worsening AIDS crisis and coinciding with the World Health Organization's second annual World AIDS Day on December 1 1989, Visual AIDS organized the first Day Without Art, calling for more than 800 museums, galleries, and art organizations nationwide to shroud artworks in black cloth or close their doors as a gesture of mourning. The national project began as a way to recognize the loss of artists, colleagues, and friends to the burgeoning AIDS pandemic. As the nature of the pandemic changed over time, "Day With(out) Art" transitioned to providing information about HIV and safer sex through exhibitions, programs, readings, memorials, rituals, and performances. Now a day to highlight artworks focused on the AIDS pandemic, and to encourage programming of artists living with HIV, the organization has recoined the initiative "Day With(out) Art" and has solidified its mission by working with artists and filmmakers to internationally distribute newly commissioned videos to museums, art institutions, schools, and AIDS organizations, with in-person panel discussions and workshops to further support their message of advocacy. Due to COVID restrictions around the country, partner museums, art institutions, and schools will also drive traffic to these films virtually in a unified effort to maintain the impact of the event.

"While we are living through the AIDS pandemic and the COVID pandemic simultaneously this year, we took extra care to safeguard the legacy of this annual project to transition to a digital event with a true global voice," explains Esther McGowan, executive director of Visual AIDS. "This project is our mission at work, both providing support for artists impacted by AIDS and HIV, while raising awareness, educating the public, and standing up to stigma. We are proud to partner with the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles to raise the visibility of this project as well as a number of other institutions who champion advocacy through art."

Event information
"Day With(out) Art: Transmissions" will premiere online Monday, November 30, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Pre-registration is required at visualaids.org/transmissions to gain event access and is free to join.

Beginning December 1, World AIDS Day, the video program will be available to view online at visualaids.org/transmissions.

"Transmissions" will also screen in numerous locations around the world, both online and in-person. For the growing list of screening locations,

https://visualaids.org/events/detail/dwa2020

The online premiere of TRANSMISSIONS is presented in partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and supported by the Arts Research Center (Berkeley, CA), the David Bethuel Jamieson Studio House and Archives at Walbridge (Washington, DC), the Esker Foundation (Calgary, AB), the Florida Department of Health (Tallahassee, FL), the Freedman Gallery, Albright College (Reading, PA), Georgetown University Art Galleries (Washington, DC), Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA), the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA), the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (New York, NY), Light Work (Syracuse, NY), the Mead Art Museum (Amherst, MA), the Museum of Arts and Design (New York, NY), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (San Diego, CA), Public Space One (Iowa City, IA), the Queer Resource Center of the Claremont Colleges (Claremont, CA), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Galleries (Chicago, IL), SchwulesMuseum Berlin (Berlin, Germany), the Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland (College Park, MD), Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX), the Grand Cinema (Tacoma, WA), University Galleries (Normal, IL), University Museums, Colgate University (Hamilton, NY), Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College (Davidson, NC), the Victoria Arts Council (Victoria, BC), and Video Pool Media Arts Centre (Winnipeg, MB).

Founded in 1988, Visual AIDS is the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS awareness and creating dialogue around HIV issues today. Through producing and presenting visual art projects, exhibitions, public forums, and publications, while assisting artists living with HIV/AIDS, its work drives forward the efforts to preserve and honor the work of artists living with HIV/AIDS and the artistic contributions of the AIDS movement. By embracing diversity and difference in staff, leadership, artists, and audiences, the organization draws from a deep history of art activism, with art as its weapon of choice to combat the ongoing AIDS pandemic.

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