featured gallery for February 2017

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

"I cherish the time I have on this earth, I want to resist every attempt to limit my possibilities and to diminish my growth, so that I am able as a creative woman to say something beautiful, worthy and new." Affrekka Jefferson (1950–2004)

This month’s web gallery for LOVE POSITIVE WOMEN honors the women who were diagnosed and lived through the early days of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. It is intended as a tribute and time for reflection, as we remember those who sadly died and acknowledge those who survived, thrived and are living with us today.

Women, who, as pioneers of unchartered waters in an explosive, unpredictable and dangerous new world, created a way forward through the most difficult darkest of times: through their own individual responses, sometimes walking alone, others collectively through collaboration with others, forging links, forming support groups, breaking down barriers with no bars of gender, social/cultural divides, race or sexual orientation, raising awareness, educating, challenging politics and society to make radical changes in the way HIV/AIDS is understood today in the 21st century. From caring, coping, not coping, dying, enduring, seeking out and discovering ways to survive, of living, loving, creating and procreating, finding alternative health, trialing emerging medication, providing evidence and ways forward that has benefited future generations - these women were there living through it. Whilst there is clearly more to do across the world, this web gallery is intended as a punctuation: a stop to consider, and a celebration of these women, and how far we have come, but most of all to remember and to make a mark - to ensure: There is a light that never goes out.

Thankfully through the Visual AIDS Artist+ Registry there exists, conserved in digital form, the legacy of positive women’s art. At the moment of this web gallery in February 2017, 43 women identify in the Registry as female artists; the images found in individual artist’s pages range from a single artwork to more prolific works and detailed statements giving extra insight into the women behind the art. The works selected for this web gallery are from women artists who identified as living with HIV in the early days, many who have passed away as well as a selection of women artists who may have been diagnosed later but because of their age would have certainly lived during those early times. The selected works, placed chronologically, demonstrates the breadth of art created by established artists, those who returned, and those who turned to art after their HIV diagnosis. Whilst viewing the web gallery, let us also consider the absence of work, the unmade, the forgotten and the silent, and truly cherish the art that has been conserved together with a recognition of the artists and also the importance of this fantastic resource within the Registry.