“Art is a step from what is obvious and well known towards what is arcane and concealed” – Khalil Gibran
Art is a form of expression, which uses various media to express a given notion or emotion. Ignorance can be birthed upon a lack of knowledge on an issue, hence the need for education. Those living with HIV go through various emotional cycles, which the public are unaware of because they are forced to live a life of secrecy. Various people living with HIV have been abused and neglected by those close to them causing depression and suicidal thoughts. Such individuals feel they don’t have a voice so they express themselves in other ways. One of these ways is through art!
The Life in My Shoes campaign deals with empathy, forming an understanding of what life is like in the shoes of another individual. In Washington we chose to have a ‘live art’ day, where two LIMS ambassadors interpretted two themes, relating to teens living with HIV in the UK. The themes were myths and misconceptions, double life, abuse and impact.
The process lasted the whole day, drawing loads of interest from surrounding people. We even got a mention in NAM! Some people returned at various points of the day to observe the development of the artwork. They wanted to know more about what we were doing and also the campaign and how they could get involved. Those participating in the ‘live artwork’ felt empowered and motivated as people continuously gave strong positive feedback.
The artwork by the LIMS Ambassadors showed that, a picture could speak a thousand words! Clearly illustrating the importance of art with HIV.
Around Washington there was a whole host of visual communication. Ranging from bold type to colourful paintings and photography. Art was everywhere!
The great thing about art is it can have an individual interpretation. I looked at certain pieces of art and I saw culture, pain, triumph, and loneliness. Looking at every art piece put me in the shoes of the artist and I stood in awe, taking in the story that is being told by the artist.
I found this experience both powerful and inspiring!
This blog was written by a LIMS Ambassador