South African AIDS Art Exhibit to Be Shown, Auctioned in Boston
"ArtWorks for AIDS," an exhibit of work from southern African artists that represents both the "explosion in the visual arts" in post-apartheid South Africa and the region's simultaneous "explosion of AIDS," will complete its international tour and be auctioned off Nov. 30 in Boston to benefit AIDS research in southern Africa, the Boston Globe reports. The Harvard AIDS Institute patroned the exhibit, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which donated $100 million to "Secure the Future," a program supporting women and children infected with HIV in southern Africa, commissioned artists to create pieces specifically about AIDS. The exhibit, which premiered in Durban, South Africa, and traveled to Washington, D.C., and Brussels, will arrive in Cambridge on Nov. 25 for a public viewing prior to its auction. "We're doing this to try to reach a larger audience and create awareness of the crisis in Africa," Director of Harvard's Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts Ellen Pheland said. Exhibit curator and Director of the South African National Gallery Marilyn Martin writes in the exhibition's catalog, "The subject of HIV/AIDS has not really been confronted by visual artists in the region and it is an emotional and controversial one." By inviting these artists to contribute to the show, she writes that "we were challenging [them] to aestheticize a complicated public issue, as many South Africans had done during the apartheid years, and we were engaging the transcendental potentialities of art as reconstructor of spiritual aspirations and restorer of human dignity." The 31 "renowned" artists featured hail from six southern African countries. The Globe calls the exhibit "a call to action," noting that 24.5 million people live with HIV or AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, with four million becoming infected last year. The works may be previewed at http://aids.harvard.edu/artworks (Temin, Boston Globe, 11/15).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.