African Artists and Aids, Revue Noire N°19, 1995
Even though the official WORLD AIDS day was yesterday, it doesn’t hurt to bring some attention to it the day after. This morning one of my favourite blogs, Another Africa, posted a link to a special number of the French Arts Magazine REVUE NOIRE from 1995, dedicated to aids. In this issue various artists from a broad spectrum of disciplines showcased works in which they put the personal losses, outrages, frustrations, ethical problems, challenges, sorrows, despairs and what have you, related aids to the front. Every artistic response to aids featured in the magazine is very personal and moving.
I highly recommend that you read the brilliant introduction by editor and art critic Jean-Loup Pivin. Here is a teaser:
The Dichotomy of aids as a scientific illness and aids as a social illness seem to call for simple roles: doctors for taking care of patients, thinkers and creative artists for persuasion and expression. The theory behind this dichotomy would assign the art the task of saying the unsayable, since art, by its representations of the world, creates meaning in areas where reason becomes impotent. Yet to box up art in reason makes both reason fail and art vanish. A human being who thinks is the same as a human being who loves.
It is not the artists who communicates it is his work that offers a form in which some people will here the world’s echo. […]
To me these are wise words – not only in relation to the problem of aids in Africa, but also to e.g. the problems of old, fixed and stereotypical ideas of the majority of African countries as well as other third world countries. Because art really has the task and potential of saying the unsayable, and create meaning in areas where reason becomes impotent. Artwork communicates, and can thus hopefully help balance and create awareness of ideas, perceptions and challenges that today seem unreasonable, preconceived or simply just difficult.
Please take a look at the Revue Noire magazine here for more reading and images, and enjoy the artworks below.