Not Alone — an international project of Make Art/Stop Aids — is an exhibition featuring artists from Brazil, United States, India and South Africa.
Already on view at the Durban Art Gallery, the concept originated with the show Make Art/Stop Aids which premiered at the Fowler Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles in 2008. The core exhibition and organization remain largely the same as in Los Angeles, however certain works that were included in the original show are not represented whilst new ones from South Africa have been added. This flexible itinerant format is intended to focus on the country of exhibition while offering a view of the wider picture. The South African version of the show has been curated by Carol Brown (Independent curator) and David Gere (Professor of World Arts and Cultures in UCLA).
Featuring examples from the United States, South Africa, India and Brazil — four disparate nations whose distinct experiences with and responses to the epidemic make insightful studies —Make Art/Stop AIDS presents more than sixty contemporary works including paintings, sculptures, photographs, performance videos, posters, animated shorts, digital media, and installations that engage these questions: What is AIDS? Who lives, who dies? Why are condoms controversial? Are you afraid to touch? When was the last time you cried? Why a red ribbon? Are you ready to act?
The overall message of the show focuses on issues of treatment. One of the signature pieces is called Medicine Man and is made up of over 300 medicine bottles and syringes used by the two American artists, Daniel Goldstein and John Kapellas, who have lived HIV- Positive for over twenty years.
The iconic Keiskamma Altarpiece also celebrates the life given to the community of Hamburg in the Eastern Cape, after being given access to ARVs. This spectacular artwork has been embroidered, beaded and appliquéd by 120 women in the district and is inspired by a fifteenth century work by German artist, Grunewald who created a painted altarpiece — the Issenheim Altarpiece. The scale is enormous — 13 feet high and 24 feet wide and this will be its first showing in Durban. It has recently traveled to cathedrals in the U.S. and Britain.
The exhibition also features works by Indian folk artists who use scrolls to tell the community about HIV/AIDS and a pair of young artists, Thukral and Tagra whose paintings refer to Bollywood movies and romantic notions of love whilst endorsing condom use.
South African artists include Clive Van den Berg, William Kentridge, Churchill Madikida, Langa Magwa, Penelope Siopis, Gideon Mendel and others.
After Johannesburg, Not Alone travels to Iziko Museums of Cape Town. Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, (021) 464-1263 in mid-November.