Commemorating World AIDS Day 2023

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Every December 1st, the global community observes World AIDS Day, a momentous occasion to reflect on the progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, honor those we’ve lost, and renew our commitment to ending the epidemic. As we approach World AIDS Day 2023, this year’s commemoration holds special significance, marked by two transformative events that amplify the importance of remembrance, education, and collective action.

Illuminations at the High Frequency Friday Event

New York-based artist Jordan Eagles sets the stage for a profound World AIDS Day experience with his site-specific installation and activation titled “Illuminations” as part of the High Museum’s December High Frequency Friday event. Eagles has partnered with Positive Impact Health centers, which will also be present at the event to promote their services. This visionary artist creates an immersive environment and a participatory photography set, urging visitors to delve into their personal histories and confront the enduring impact of HIV/AIDS.

For the past decade, Eagles has harnessed the power of art to advocate for equality and evidence-based policies. His unique approach involves using blood donated by members of the LGBTQIA+ community—many of whom are on PrEP or are HIV+ and undetectable. The blood is meticulously preserved in resin panels, permanently capturing the organic material’s colors and textures. These panels are then placed on analog overhead projectors, casting a mesmerizing, light-based environment.

“Illuminations” transcends traditional art by inviting visitors not only to witness the beauty of the artwork but to actively engage in the commemoration. Attendees have the opportunity to sit for a portrait with the artist on a limited, first-come-first-serve basis. Moreover, they are encouraged to document their experience by taking photos with friends and fellow visitors, fostering dialogues that extend beyond the confines of the exhibition space. This immersive installation transforms commemoration into a participatory act, creating a space for shared reflections and inspiring individual actions that resonate far beyond the gallery walls.

Date:           December 1, 2023

Time:           6-10 pm

Venue:         High Museum of Art

Link:            high.org/event/december-high-frequency-friday-2/

The Men Engagement Network of AID Atlanta: Uniting for a Healthy Future

Simultaneously, the Men Engagement Network of AID Atlanta is set to host a thought-provoking and engaging event on December 1st. This program, meticulously designed to engage, educate, and inspire people from all walks of life, encompasses the State of HIV/AIDS in Georgia, a Community Showcase, Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony, and special recognition and presentations to entities making significant contributions to the cause.

Among those recognized are Northside, Joining Hearts, Kimberly-Clark, POWER Atlanta, and the Front Runners Atlanta Pride Run. These organizations and individuals embody the spirit of collaboration, working together to create a world free from shame and stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

Tim Webb, Event Co-Producer, expresses the belief that collective action is the key to creating a world free from shame and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. The World AIDS Day Program provides a platform for unity, learning, and taking action. Admission to this impactful event is free, but ticket reservations are required in advance due to the anticipated maximum capacity.

Date:             December 1, 2023

Time:             6 pm – 9 pm

Venue:           Midtown Collective at Huff Trail, 1429 Fairmount Road NW, Suite N, Atlanta, GA 30318

Link:            MENWorldAIDSDay2023.eventbrite.com

As we navigate the complexities of the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis, these two events stand as beacons of hope, urging us to unite, learn, and take action. The intersection of art and community engagement amplifies the impact of our collective efforts, emphasizing that, together, we can overcome the challenges that persist and strive towards a future where HIV/AIDS is a relic of the past.

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