Activism drives more attention to the most relevant and hot topics in society these days. Unless there are people to call out the injustice and political incorrectness ingrained as fundamental concepts of living in the minds of humans, the activities that discriminate against a certain group of people are likely to keep growing in intensity. It is important that we fight for our rights so that humanity is saved from the plaguing effects and thoughts of a culture we never wanted to be a part of. Several campaigns have drawn a line of oppression against the people with HIV, which is a deadly but incommunicable disease.
As the decades passed by, the number of people fighting for this cause has also increased significantly. The protest has grown from Keith Haring’s artworks to some of the most impactful strategies that play well for the execution of better world order. In the eighties, when ideas were still sprouting out of infancy, an iconic piece of art conquered the hearts of millions, and it has been a constant symbol of courage for the people with HIV/AIDs- the SILENCE = DEATH logo. As it became one of the many emblematic artist responses, the attempts by other artists to enhance activism were also on the rise. The current generation is also trying to tackle the realities of HIV/AIDS with art.
Grandmother Willow, 2014
LaBeija was one of the four artists out of the hundred featured at the Tacoma Art Museum’s Art AIDS America in 2015. The exhibition explored the whole spectrum of artistic responses to AIDS, but the lack of racial diversity of the show did raise a few eyebrows. Even the African Americans were affected by HIV/AIDS, but the show failed to display their collective emotion. As a response to this, the activist group Tacoma Action Collective staged a series of protests to draw the attention of the people to the correct representation of the Black people by readjusting the roster of artists for exhibitions at various venues.
SPIT! Frieze Projects 2017
The spontaneous collective SPIT! was explored for its full range of the spectrum covered by the diseased bodies. Through this movement, the artists aimed to bring the plagued minds to the big picture in order to fight the common mindset of discrimination. Many of the historical and contemporary texts were accompanied by a brilliant selection of modern art masterpieces. All these were displayed to highlight the defining debates in queer politics. Everything from the ethics of HIV prevention to the anxiety of death is covered in the PrEP Manifesto that featured in the exhibition.
Forever Young, BETHESDA, 2014
International dialogue is mixed with poetry to communicate volumes about the struggles of the people with HIV/AIDS. Jonathan Molina-Garcia, a Salvadoran-American multimedia artist, spent two years documenting all his romantic relationships to find out previous sexual activities with any HIV-positive men. His craft was exposed on the website during the multimedia project BETHESDA. These works of art evoke a process of change and queer histories.