Visual AIDS intern Megan Eloise launches our new Visual AIDS tumblr, notoverAIDS.tumblr.com

Saturated with innumerous Rent fan blogs and countless reblogged shirtless Robert Mapplethorpe images, the Tumblr universe has previously suffered from a distinct lack of both HIV/AIDS dialogue and dedicated artistic archive. It was this lack I believe that made the process of creating this NOT OVER Visual AIDS page such an exciting endeavour.

Through the socially fluid network of Tumblr this initiative opens up doors for a new spectrum of individuals to encounter both the message of NOT OVER and the work of artists featured – truly the best of the web. A visual collage, the page will share this artistic work online alongside other HIV/AIDS related work in an exciting interactive way. As a 20-something woman from New Zealand in New York for the Summer break away from my studies in Abu Dhabi, I personally first became interested in the intersection between art and AIDS when I was lucky enough to attend a screening and discussion session of United In Anger: A History of ACT UP in the United Arab Emirates - I have always been passionate about the potential for art to provoke social change which made watching ACT UP activists wage war through performance and electrifying visual protest all the more inspiring. Traveling from a region where travel restrictions are placed on the HIV positive and migrant workers infected with HIV are denied all health benefits, quarantined, and deported, I feel fortunate for the opportunity to now work in an environment that celebrates dialogue and work speaking freely to both AIDS and art. I think coming from Christchurch, New Zealand, (a city mostly destroyed by earthquakes in 2011 and 2012) further amplifies my love for socially engaged art. I’m forever indebted to the phenomenally talented artists that took to my city to reawaken the space and I definitely recognize a similar energy and passion in many of the artists associated with Visual Aids who work tirelessly to eradicate and spread the word about HIV/AIDS stigma.

My personal favourite feature of the site - the NOT OVER interview series - seeks to collect responses from within the HIV+ artist community as to their experience with AIDS, exploring what it all means to them. Currently online we’re thrilled to have our first interview up by rtist Nancer LeMoins, whose detailed block print work ‘AIDS isn’t Over’ (1998) we’re also excited to share on the blog. Her answers to seemingly impossible questions such as ‘What does NOT OVER mean to you’ and ‘What is AIDS in 25 years’ share personal insight alongside simultaneous hope and despair. As we continue in the NOT OVER interview project we are looking forward to continuously share more responses from other artists, creating a myriad of thought both powerful and provocative.

Start following us on tumblr today: notoverAIDS.tumblr.com

Megan Eloise is from Christchurch, New Zealand currently completing her undergraduate degree double majoring in Social Research and Public Policy and Visual Art. Studying in the United Arab Emirates, she is working in New York for the summer.

Nancer LeMoins