Global Fund Multimedia Exhibit Aims To Raise Awareness, Promote Support for Distribution of Antiretrovirals
A multimedia exhibit featuring more than 30 people living with HIV/AIDS and their families that aims to raise awareness about the disease and promote the distribution of no-cost antiretroviral treatment is scheduled to open Saturday in Washington, D.C., Roll Call reports.
For the project, the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria partnered with Magnum Photos to send eight photojournalists across the world to document the Global Fund's treatment programs and their effects. The collection, titled "Access to Life," combines video, collages and photos from the families of people living with HIV/AIDS. It also includes traditional documentary photography to tell the stories of the subjects from a broader perspective, Roll Call reports. The exhibit chronicles the changes in the subjects' health and quality of life over four to six months. The exhibit will run through July 20 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Photographer Jonas Bendiksen said, "I was worried when I went into it that three months wouldn't be enough time to show progress in people." He added, "But I proved myself wrong." Philip Brookman, director of curatorial affairs at the Corcoran, said, "The exhibit surrounds us with words, images, sounds," adding, "It includes the viewpoint and point of view of those on both sides of the lens -- the photographer and the subjects of the photograph." Some participants said they took part in the project in an effort to encourage other HIV-positive people to seek treatment, even in countries with widespread stigma. "It was just to be an example to some other people in other countries that when you take" antiretrovirals, "you have a better life and you get a better future," Tobha Nzima, an HIV-positive woman from Swaziland who participated in the project, said. She added, "I think they can learn many things about our lives and how we are treated in Swaziland."
Project organizers said they hope the exhibit will raise awareness about the work being done to fight the disease and the need for continued support of organizations such as the Global Fund. Natasha Bilimoria -- executive director of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- said, "We all know the devastating effect of AIDS, but there's hope, there's real hope, and these photos show that" (Van Oot, Roll Call, 6/12).