Driving the AIDS Response through Art


The following post originally appeared on North Star Alliance’s blog: “Driving the AIDS Response through Art” on 10 August 2011.


On 26-29 July, North Star Alliance teamed up with Art for AIDS International to pilot a series of innovative visual-arts-based HIV workshops with truck drivers and sex workers in the community of Beitbridge, Zimbabwe.

These workshops, led by Art for AIDS International Executive Director Hendrikus Bervoets, use a combination of fact-based knowledge sharing, experiential learning, peer-peer support, and art making to explore specific and sensitive aspects of risk and vulnerability, especially as they relate to HIV and STI infection.

“Although HIV awareness is high, fear and stigma prevent many from getting tested and seeking treatment. These innovative workshops show that the process of combining health information, storytelling and art-making can be informative, therapeutic and fun for everyone involved” says Robin Landis, Director of Communications for North Star Alliance.

What is perhaps most exciting about these workshops, however, is the resulting body of artwork.

During the workshops participants translate their insights into the production of original collage artwork. Each collage is produced as original machine-made limited edition prints that are signed and numbered.

These prints will create a unique portfolio which will be collaboratively exhibited by North Star Alliance and Art for AIDS International to raise awareness about the impact of HIV on mobile populations, and proceeds to support both organisations’ work in Southern Africa.  The portfolio will be officially released early this fall, so you’ll have to wait until then to see it!

The workshops also provided North Star with an opportunity to collect mixed-method research on these key populations. “By interacting with truck drivers and sex workers outside of the clinic setting we were able to deepen our understanding of their health needs and tackle sensitive issues like HIV stigma” says Robin Landis.

North Star will use the participants’ feedback and in-depth interviews to improve our targeted services and programmes.

Stay tuned for updates from this project, including information on exhibition openings by subscribing to North Star Alliance’s RSS Feed or by following our blog. If you are interested in ordering prints or hosting an exhibit, please contact jean-paul@northstar-alliance.org.


About Art for AIDS International

Art for AIDS International is a Canadian based not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising funds and awareness for women and children affected by the HIV in Africa. Since 2004, Art for AIDS International has hosted over 300 workshops with over ten thousand participants in 7 countries.

You can learn more about Art for AIDS by visiting them online or by joining them on Facebook.


About North Star Alliance

North Star works at the crossroads of disease and mobility to ensure that highly-mobile populations, especially truck drivers and their direct and indirect contacts have access to basic health services.

You can learn more about North Star Alliance by visiting them online or by joining them on Facebook.

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Categories: Arts and Culture

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