• 13 February 2012
  • Exhibition Opening

The A.R.T Show opened on Friday evening 10th February. Following our festive season superstore ‘BuzzArt' and the unapologetic bling of the opening of the annual KZNSA members exhibition ‘RED', the Gallery turned its attention to a more sombre concern - the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

The A.R.T Show is curated by Carol Brown, (Curate a Space) and David Gere - Executive Director of the Art and Global Health Centre, and founder of the MAKE ART/STOP AIDS initiative both based at UCLA. The exhibition looks at the current HIV/AIDS situation where, theoretically, there is now widespread access to treatment. How is this reality affecting the lives of individuals and the social structure of our society?

Given the gravity of the situation, and mindful of the fact that KZN is the global epicentre of the pandemic - how to host a party that would reflect both the sadness and the triumphs of 55 million people living with HIV and AIDS? The Durban public responded by arriving in droves to the awesome reverberation of the Sphithemba ("We give you hope - you give us hope") HIV positive choir. These brave and talented performers use song to share their status and life stories. Three hundred small bottles filled with blue, yellow and red liquid and backlit by a candles mounted on the exterior Gallery wall gave the voluminous triple volume spaces a cathedral-like feel - this together with a giant inflatable capsule suspended up high (where one might expect an altar to be) reminded us of the huge role that the faith-based community has played in this the ‘new' struggle.

The US Consul General Mr Taylor Ruggles and David Gere opened the exhibition to an attentive crowd of over 300 art aficionados and public health sector practitioners. They spoke passionately about the political obstacles that have been, and continue to, prevent life saving treatment from reaching the poorest of our communities. (Yes ‘A.R.T Show' is a spin on the acronym Anti-Retroviral Treatment!)

Gere had the audience chuckling when he explained that on a visit to and HIV and AIDS clinic in India he had enthusiastically followed a sign ‘To the ART' hoping to find an art intervention for which he is so well known. EWOK cranked up the volume with an emotional performance of slam like poetry that left us all in no doubt that the global response to 30 million cumulative deaths is, well, "... a f***ing shame". Huge shout out to Vrushiks (Durban's only karma free curry) for feeding a multitude with the proverbial nutritious and delicious. I believe we all left inspired, elated and beyond concerned.

Bren Brophy
KZNSA Gallery Curator



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