AIDS Healthcare Foundation Presents AfricAlive: Portraits of Success
Traveling Photo Exhibit Celebrates Life
(BI) Susanna Daniel
NEW YORK, Feb. 28 -- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the nation's largest AIDS organization presents AfricAlive: Portraits of Success, a traveling exhibit featuring life-size photographic portraits of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS at the Prince George Gallery in New York, opening March 1.
The exhibit puts the African AIDS epidemic in focus by sharing striking and everyday images and stories of 35 patients from AHF's free AIDS treatment clinics in South Africa and Uganda.
The featured patients are among the fortunate few on treatment. The magnificent photographic portraits were taken by globally recognized photographer Dorit Thies.
"It has been ten years since life-saving treatments were first introduced in the developed world, yet today 95 percent of those in need worldwide still have little or no access to these drugs," said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation president.
"AfricAlive demonstrates how treatment can be used successfully in resource-poor countries and provides a look at how personal will, when combined with effective medicine, can save lives once thought lost."
The AfricAlive exhibit features both vibrant portraits and brief biographical sketches which relate, in the subject's own words, how AIDS has impacted their family and how access to treatment has changed their lives.
"AfricAlive: Portraits of Success, is a wonderful look at the effects of ARV treatment," said Alicia Keys, Keep a Child Alive Global Ambassador.
"I have seen firsthand the devastation that the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to inflict on families in Africa, and I am personally dedicated to using my voice to raise awareness and bring this desperately needed treatment to families and children in Africa and elsewhere. I encourage people to visit this exhibit in New York and view Dorit Thies' extraordinary images of lives saved at AIDS Healthcare Foundation clinics in South Africa and Uganda. Many of these people are those that Keep a Child Alive helps, so we are happy to support this show in any way we can. May it serve as a call to action for greater AIDS treatment efforts worldwide."
"AfricAlive shows that treatment equals life," added Weinstein. "These amazing portraits and the stories of lives saved truly separate the rhetoric from the reality in global AIDS treatment efforts. We have the tools to treat AIDS today -- the question is whether we collectively have the will to share treatment with those in need in Africa and the developing world. It is my sincere hope that AfricAlive serves as a touchstone and catalyst to help bring AIDS treatment to many, many more of those in need."
AHF created AfricAlive to raise both awareness and funds to support its Africa-based AIDS clinics. All exhibit proceeds will support life-sustaining care and treatment to those in desperate need. In addition, 500 limited edition portrait books, custom made of banana leaves in Uganda and signed by the photographer, will be available for silent auction at the exhibit.
Patient Stories; Lives Saved
The stories are compelling. AfricAlive subject Judith Kiganda, age 36 from Uganda tested positive in 2001. She has lost her husband and many relatives to AIDS and said, "I felt the world had come to an end, but now I am used to it. The drugs are life in themselves."
Many AHF patients are trailblazers in their own communities, because they are breaking the stigma of AIDS by seeking treatment. Buselaphi Maphumulo, her husband and five-year-old son all receive treatment from the AHF's lthembalabantu clinic in South Africa.
Buselaphi notes, "I can say treatment is helping as it has saved my life. I even sent several friends to the clinic. My family is so proud of me that I stood up -- so now they say they have no fear anymore. They will go for treatment."
AfricAlive will open at the Prince George Gallery in New York on March 1, 2006 (15 East 27th St. between Madison & 5th). The exhibit will stay in New York through March 22. More information on the exhibit including exhibit hours is available at www.aidshealth.org.
AfricAlive will also travel to Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Amsterdam and Toronto. The Toronto exhibit will coincide with the biannual International AIDS Conference.