Artwork is part of the CDC’s national campaign, “Start Talking. Stop HIV.”
ATLANTA – Living Walls, in collaboration with Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, invites community members to the unveiling of their latest mural, “We All Thrive with HIV!” The event begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 31st on the Westside Trail where it passes under Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard at Cascade Avenue. This is one of two mural projects curated by Living Walls as part of the Center for Disease Control’s national campaign: “Start Talking. Stop HIV.”
This mural is the result of a series of listening sessions, panel discussions, and public events curated by different community artists, HIV/AIDS scholars, doctors, activists, and LGBTQ+ organizations on the topic of HIV/AIDS. The mural concept and design were created by five local queer artists of color: Ajmal Millar, Ash Walsh, John Burnett, Lisette Correa and Maite Nazario.
“We Are All Thriving with HIV!” is an attempt to break away the stigma that HIV still holds. Filled with vibrant colors and love, the artists have created a piece to remind everyone that you are worthy of love and can still live a life full of happiness despite one’s access, status, and orientation. HIV has far-reaching impacts. This is a celebration of queer ancestors, HIV pioneers, the ballrooms, the Kiki scenes, and all the spaces that provided a safe place to build confidence and to those who continue to help pave the way in our community.
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. is excited to partner with Living Walls to bring this important conversation to our BeltLine communities. Please join in this day of joy and fellowship at the unveiling on Saturday, August 31. View additional event details on Facebook.
Click here for the GPS location on the Westside Trail. The site is accessible via a ramp from Kroger City-Center or via the Westside Trail from Gordon White Park.
Over the summer, Living Walls hosted the following four community discussions and panels:
- “History of HIV in the South Panel, Art Exhibit & Mural Unveiling” on June 26th at Out Front Theater Company. The event featured Craig Washington as moderator (Southern Unity Movement), Reverend Duncan Teague (Abundant Luuv), Jeff Graham (Executive Director, Georgia Equality), and Dee Dee Chamblee (Founder, LaGender Inc.). Topics included:
- Stigma behind HIV/AIDS
- How stigma creates barriers to the conversation
- How this stigma is diminished through activism and art
- “HIV Advocacy & Protest Through Art” on July 23rd at Sister Louisa’s Church Annex featuring Taylor Alxndr as moderator, Johnnie Ray Kornegay (Counter Narrative Project), Jon Gabriel Ortiz (Thrive SS), Andrew Wood (Activist, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence). This event featured artwork from Johnnie Ray Kornegay and Emily Getsay and the announcement of the August mural. Topics included:
- How art has been used to fight HIV stigma and as a tool to help shape how we view and talk about HIV
- How art, performance, and activism were used in the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to create awareness and mobilize the community
- The importance of using art today to humanize the statistics surrounding HIV and to fight the dissemination of propaganda
- “¿Estamos Bien? A conversation about HIV and Latinx Salud” at 7 stages featuring Estrella Sanchez as host, Moderator: Edric Figueroa (La Choloteca), Alejandro Lopez (Atlanta HIV/AIDS activist and long-term survivor), José Romero (Southerners on New Grounds), Jesse Pratt Lopez (Community Estrella), and Sequoia Ayala, JD, MA (SisteLlove Inc.). Topics included:
- In wake of U.S. political reality, how are economic barriers, immigration policy and media messaging impacting HIV, overall well-being and the health of Latinx in the South?
- How has religion and the cultural norms within our own communities impacted the stigma of HIV, sex and desire?
- What else is creating or contributing to the tradeoffs between Latinx-health-&-wellbeing for safety and survival?
- How can we mobilize change for a future that celebrates all Latinx- regardless of their HIV status, documents, race, or other marginalization?
- “Using Art as a tool for HIV Awareness, Acceptance, and Representation: A Conversation with Kia LaBeija” on August 23rd at the High Museum. LaBeija is an artist a performer who composes cinematic autobiographical portraits and self-portraits; staging, re-imagining, sometimes documenting in real time or all of the above. Many of her early portraits focus on her identity as a mixed black queer woman living with HIV. This discussion will focus on how these intersections are used as tools for community representation for artists living with HIV.
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Northside Hospital, Georgia Natural Gas, and Ponce City Market are presenting sponsors for the 2019 exhibition. Additional sponsors include Park Tavern at the Gold level; Kroger at the Silver level; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, MailChimp, WarnerMedia, and Uber at the Bronze level; and Flashpoint Artists Initiative, Inman Park Neighborhood Association and Michael Ross | Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s at the Patron level.
Major support for this project is provided by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Major funding for this organization is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.