Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9-10 September 2007: MAKE ART/STOP AIDS

For the rest of my time in India, I am traveling with my UCLA advisor, David Gere, and 3 other people to visit 3 projects of MAKE ART/STOP AIDS in India. MA/SA takes as its inspiration Douglas Crimp’s 1987 assertion that “Art does have the power to save lives,” and works to organize and activate artists to participate in the fight against AIDS on the one hand, and on the other hand to use the power of the arts to educate about HIV/AIDS and mobilize people to combat the epidemic. Last year, I worked on MA/SA at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, recruiting LA high schools to bring students to see live performance and visual arts exhibits about HIV/AIDS, and leading educational programs for these visits. I will do similar work this coming academic year on a new exhibit that opens at the Fowler in February 2008. Last spring, I also prepared a booklet highlighting the accomplishments of the MA/SA projects in India, including a mobile version of the Fowler exhibit, street theater and community radio programs at a government AIDS hospital in Tamil Nadu, and the painting and performance of traditional scrolls used to educate about HIV/AIDS in West Bengal. Now I will get to see these projects first hand, and meet in person the people doing all this incredible work! In addition, I will be able to sit in on meetings with groups like UNAIDS and NACO (the National AIDS Control Organization, the government agency which addresses HIV/AIDS in India).

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