HIV/AIDS: in it together
HIV/AIDS: in it together was a 10-week project initiated by NIROX Arts Foundation and Wits School of the Arts (WSOA) and was supported by PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief in the USA). I, then WSOA lecturer was appointed to project manage and facilitate the project and worked closely with Fluxus artist Geoffrey Hendricks who was active in the Visual AIDS organisation in the USA.
The project included a series of workshops led by myself and Geoffrey with an interdisciplinary group of Wits School of the Arts students from visual arts, drama, drama for life (applied theatre), music and film. Two participants from the Tomorrow Trust (see www.tomorrow.org.za) were also invited. The workshops dealt with the stigma that still surrounds people living with HIV/AIDS. In the workshops, we spoke about how a lot of HIV/aids performances that the group had performed in and seen leave them (and the audiences) feeling helpless and disempowered. One of the challenges, which emerged from the workshops, was: how do we create life-affirming performances that spread the message – there is life with HIV and that we are really all in it together…? That those who are suffering are not alone. Working in a highly interdisciplinary way, the artists created several site-specific performances that strove to imagine different ways of bringing awareness about this problem through life-affirming public performance art.
There were ten workshops in total, which produced 7 site-specific performance pieces in 7 sites in Braamfontein. These performances were held over 3 consecutive days in April. At each performance site, there were pamphlets handed out so as to make the project accessible to those witnessing the pieces in the street.
Tollywood Films created a film about the entire project, which was screened at the Bioscope at main Street Life and Wits School of the Arts as part of the WALE (Wits Arts and Literature Exchange) festival.
Watch the 30 min documentary here: