AIDS Awareness Week kicks off with a massive art portrait
By Nantanaa Mutharasu
The AIDS Committee of Windsor kicked off AIDS Awareness Week with an art exhibition with hopes to help put a face to the suffering linked with HIV.
Face of HIV is a collage with the photos of 710 people in Windsor-Essex and Chatham Kent, living with HIV either directly or indirectly. The artist weaved the photos into one big androgynous portrait.
“The project began in January,” said Kim Levergood, women HIV community outreach coordinator. “It took us up until November to get all the photos.”
She wants the massive photo collage to send a very important message to the public.
“You can’t tell in this portrait who is living with HIV and who is not,” said Levergood. “There isn’t some signifier that says someone is living with HIV here. It represents everyone as the face of HIV and it takes a community to destigmatize HIV.”
The event attracted people from all walks of life that supported the AIDS awareness movement. The annual AIDS Awareness Week continued into the evening with a candlelight vigil procession on Pelissier Street. Many people including children walked in the cold and drizzle from the AIDS Committee of Windsor office to the Capitol Theatre where the vigil was held.
“It really does bring to the community that these are not just vague individuals and shadows,” said Cheryl Taggart, Director of Community-University Partnership. She has been on the AIDS awareness movement scene since the 1980s. “I became more involved in the inclusion and recognizing just the inherent value and worth of an individual, no matter what the condition or situation they’re experiencing. These are real people and we’re all part of the community and some way or another we’re all affected.”
Face of HIV was showcased until Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. For more information about HIV, visit aidswindsor.org.