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Indepth Arts News:

"Pandemic: Imaging AIDS"
2002-08-30 until 2002-10-27
Pretoria Art Museum
Arcadia, Pretoria, , ZA South Africa

Pandemic: Imaging AIDS is a powerful collection of international photographic works on the topic of AIDS by award-winning, international photographers. This exhibition presents images that have been crucial to confronting the disease, to memorialising the lives of those lost, and most important, to sounding an urgent call to action. In our world today, there are forty million people living with HIV/AIDS forty million different stories of hardship, pain and anger but also of hope, courage and resilience.

Imaging AIDS illuminates the worldwide struggle against the epidemic, revealing the range of responses to and against a disease that has thoroughly altered the way we approach life, our bodies, and relationships both personal and political. These stirring and groundbreaking images from around the world bring us face-to-face with the epidemic. The collection presents twenty years of photographic response to the epidemic. They have been used to document and educate, to agitate and protest, to salute friends lost and mourn the deaths of family and strangers alike.

From reportage to portraiture, agit-prop posters and expressive pieces by some of the finest photographic artists of the last twenty years, Imaging AIDS brings us a deeply moving visual documentation of the AIDS epidemic. The exhibit captures the range of emotions the AIDS epidemic has engendered and the changing reality for people living with AIDS, from controversial efforts to document the first AIDS patients to an emerging need to protest and memorialise. The legacy of this work, gathered from all corners of the globe, is a call to action and a challenge to each of us: to a world without AIDS. Participating photographers in this exhibition of original colour and gelatin-silver photographs, among others, include: Mary Berridge, Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gideon Mendel, Nicholas Nixon, Cindy Sherman, Joao Silva, Rosalind Solomon, Graeme Williams and David Wojnarowicz.

Included in this exhibition are text panels by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and editor and curator, Nan Richardson. The exhibition was opened in Barcelona at the 2002 International AIDS Conference. Former President of the United States, Mr Bill Clinton, hosted the exhibition in Spain and will host the exhibition again at the Pretoria Art Museum. The exhibition will tour internationally to New York, Washington, Paris, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro.

Nancy Burson

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